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Boyfriend, 35, charged with murder after his pregnant girlfriend found buried in a shallow grave

Boyfriend, 35, is charged with murder after his pregnant girlfriend’s skeletal remains were found buried in a shallow grave three months after she went missing

  • Jonathan Menard, 35, charged with murder for the death of his girlfriend, 33-year-old Kayla Rice 
  • Rice was six months pregnant with her second child, a son, when she went missing in Beaumont, Texas, in November 
  • Rice’s skeletal remains were found in Vinton, Louisiana, on February 11 
  • Menard was arrested that same day in Louisiana for probation violation and was later charged in Texas with evidence tampering  

A Texas man has been charged with murder for the death of his pregnant girlfriend, more than a month after her body was discovered buried in a shallow grave in Louisiana. 

Jonathan Menard, 35, was already in jail in Jefferson County on charges of tampering with evidence and parole violation in connection with the death of Kayla Rice, 33, who was last seen alive last November. 

The Beaumont Police Department in Texas announced the upgraded charge against Menard on Tuesday. The suspect’s bond for the murder count was set at $1million.   

Kayla Rice, 33

Jonathan Menard, 35 (left), has been charged with tampering with evidence in the death of his pregnant girlfriend, 33-year-old Kayla Rice (right)

Menard was Rice’s boyfriend and they were living together when she was murdered. The woman was pregnant with her second child, a boy, at the time of her death.  

Menard was arrested in Calcasieu Parish, Louisiana, on February 11 on the parole violation charge and was then transferred to the Jefferson County Jail in Texas to face the evidence tampering charge.

Rice was reported missing to the police in Beaumont by her out-of-state family in December 2020. Relatives said they had not seen or heard from the expectant mother since the end of November.

Rice was six months pregnant at the time. She also has an 11-year-old daughter from a previous relationship.

Police quickly located Rice’s vehicle, which was ‘found to have been physically altered,’ according to a statement from the agency.

On February 11, the Calcasieu Parish Sheriff’s Office received a call from a witness, saying they observed what appeared to be skeletal remains in a shallow grave on Ged Road in Vinton, reported 12 News Now. The remains were later identified as Rice.

Rice was six months pregnant with her second child, a son, when she went missing in Beaumont, Texas, in November 2020

Rice was six months pregnant with her second child, a son, when she went missing in Beaumont, Texas, in November 2020

Rice earned a bachelor's degree in human resources from a Texas university in 2013. She is pictured with her mother, brother and young daughter on the day of her graduation

Rice earned a bachelor’s degree in human resources from a Texas university in 2013. She is pictured with her mother, brother and young daughter on the day of her graduation 

Menard was arrested in Calcasieu Parish on the same day.

According to her obituary, Rice earned a bachelor’s degree in human resources from a Texas university in 2013 and played the clarinet. She welcomed her first child in 2009.

‘Kayla can best be described as nice, smart, and shy, with a kind and sweet soul,’ the obituary read. ‘She was a beautiful, funny, and silly person who would do anything for her family and friends, no questions asked. She had a wonderful heart and soul.’

Rice planned to name her unborn son Kyan Dexter.

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