Woman's Body Found at a Cemetery — Ex-Boyfriend, Who Was Recently Released From Jail, Is Arrested

A Mississippi man has been arrested after he allegedly fled a cemetery where police found the body of his 22-year-old ex-girlfriend wrapped in a sheet inside a car

Published Time: 05.07.2024 - 22:31:09 Modified Time: 05.07.2024 - 22:31:09

A Mississippi man has been arrested after he allegedly fled a cemetery where police found the body of his 22-year-old ex-girlfriend wrapped in a sheet inside a car. 

Lauren Johansen's body was found mutilated and wrapped in a sheet at a Gulfport, Miss., cemetery when law enforcement officials were responding to a welfare check, the Sun Herald, WLOX and News Channel 5 reported, citing local police.

Bricen Rivers, 23, Johansen’s ex-boyfriend, allegedly evaded authorities for hours until his capture after a manhunt on Wednesday, per the Harrison County Sheriff’s Office, the Sun Herald reported.

He was booked into the the Harrison County jail on a murder charge, per the outlets.

A few days prior to Johansen's death, Rivers had been released from a Nashville, Tenn., jail where he was being held on assault charges, WXXV News 25 and WLOX reported.

In December, he was charged with aggravated kidnapping and interfering with an emergency call in connection with a separate incident, the Metropolitan Nashville Police Department said at the time. It is unclear if he's entered a plea in connection with these charges.

According to the department's statement at the time of the kidnapping charge, Rivers was on vacation with his girlfriend in Nashville when “she called her family screaming, afraid that her boyfriend may kill her,” the department said in their statement. During the attack, Rivers allegedly beat her to a point that she almost lost consciousness, per the department. 

Her family notified Nashville police and once law enforcement arrived at the sce -

ne, they “could hear the victim banging on the vehicle as she tried to escape the attack,” police said. 

According to the department's statement, the victim was "able to get out of the car upon officer’s arrival."

The department did not name the girlfriend at the time, but WLOX and News Channel 5 identified her as Johansen.

Want to keep up with the latest crime coverage? Sign up forPEOPLE'sfree True Crime newsletterfor breaking crime news, ongoing trial coverage and details of intriguing unsolved cases.Rivers was arrested and held on $251,000 bond in connection, but months later, his bond had been reduced to $150,000, per jail records cited by WLOX and News Channel 5.

“I sat in the courtroom in Nashville and told the judge that if they let him out, he was going to kill her,” Lauren Johansen’s father Lance Johansen told WLOX.

“He had assaulted her — this was probably the fifth or sixth time where they would get into a fight and he would beat her,” Lance added. “We would get her away from him for a while, but he would find a way to weasel back in it.”

Rivers is now being held on $1 million bond, per the Sun Herald, WLOX and News Channel 5. It wasn't immediately clear if he has entered a plea or retained an attorney.

If you are experiencing domestic violence, call the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1-800-799-7233, or go to thehotline.org. All calls are toll-free and confidential. The hotline is available 24/7 in more than 170 languages.

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