Accused killer severed Troy woman's fingertips

Mike Martindale
The Detroit News

Hazel Park — A 21-year-old Troy woman, whose body was found in the attic of a home after she was missing for over a week, was strangled with a belt and her fingertips cut off with a bolt cutter, a police officer testified Thursday.

Jordan McClanahan, 24, was arraigned Thursday on first-degree felony murder and mutilation of a body in the death of Jessica White, who was found Tuesday night in McClanahan’s home on East Woodward Heights in Hazel Park.

Jordan McClanahan

During a swear-to on charges, Police Detective Joe Lowry told District Judge Charles Goedert that McClanahan implicated himself in an interview Tuesday night with Troy police. Goedert said he found probable cause to charge McClanahan with the crimes and when he asked the suspect if he had anything to say, McClanahan replied:

“The evening I picked her up I had been taking medication, OxyContin and Xanax and mixed it up with some Wellbutrin and ibuprofen. I went to a party store and we were drinking and my dad ... ”

At that point Goedert stopped McClanahan and suggested he not say anything further without first consulting with an attorney. McClanahan requested a court appointed lawyer.

Goedert entered a not-guilty plea and ordered McClanahan held in the Oakland County Jail pending a May 17 probable cause hearing and a May 24 preliminary examination.

The murder charge is punishable by up to life in prison without parole. The body mutilation charge carries a 10-year prison sentence.

Several people in the courtroom — relatives of the victim and the suspect — wept at hearing of the offenses and left following the testimony.

An autopsy determined White died of ligature strangulation.

According to Lowry, White had been picked up by McClanahan at her mother’s Troy home and went to his Hazel Park address. The pair were not romantically involved, Jessica White’s mother, Karen, insists, but had known each other since grade school and occasionally “hung out.”

Jessica White had sent text messages to her mother and a cousin around 2:30 a.m. Saturday when she was at the house saying her friend and his father were arguing and it was an “awkward” situation.

Her mother did not read the text until several hours later.

When her daughter did not return home by the following morning family and friends began to worry and filed a missing persons report.

Jessica Leigh White

When Karen White confronted McClanahan, he gave inconsistent statements. His father told police neither he nor his son knew White.

Lowry said McClanahan initially told police he had dropped White off in the morning of April 24.

Karen White said she was immediately worried when he daughter left home because she left the house with only $8 and did not show up for a weekend babysitting job. Calls to her telephone went unanswered and it was later determined the phone had been shut off around 3:15 a.m.

Family and friends took to the streets of Hazel Park and Detroit for several days passing out fliers seeking information on White’s whereabouts.

For unknown reasons, McClanahan, accompanied by his father, surrendered to Troy police Tuesday night. Lowry said McClanahan admitted he had “lied” and Wilson “was dead and her body wrapped in a tarp in the attic.”

Based on that information police found the missing woman.

While police had searched the house just a few days earlier the only door to the attic, accessed through McClanahan’s upstairs bedroom, was concealed by a desk.

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