MERIDEN — The search for a missing mother of two shifted to Waterbury on Wednesday where police said human remains were found and have yet to be identified. During a court appearance on domestic violence charges, the woman’s live-in boyfriend was named as the prime suspect in her disappearance Wednesday.
Jason Watson, 38, of 645 W. Main St., was taken into custody at the former couple’s apartment Tuesday night on charges of third degree assault, strangulation and unlawful restraint stemming from a domestic incident last week.
Police have identified Watson as the fiance of Perrie Mason, 31, who was reported missing earlier this week. The arrest warrant for the domestic assault charges indicates they were dating and recently broke up.
On Wednesday night, Meriden police said that detectives working with state police and Waterbury police located what were described as human remains in Waterbury. Police in Waterbury said they assisted with the investigation on Brookside Road, a commercial area a short distance from Route 8, north of downtown Waterbury.
Meriden Police Lt. John Mennone said in a statement that the human remains have not been positively identified, a process that “can take weeks.”
“We are working with Ms. Mason’s family and anticipate further updates in the future,” Mennone wrote Wednesday night.
During Watson’s arraignment on the domestic violence charges in Meriden Superior Court Wednesday, Watson was described by the prosecutor as a suspect in Mason’s disappearance.
The judge kept bond at $500,000 for charges of third-degree assault, strangulation, unlawful restraint and disorderly conduct and added $150,000 for a probation violation bringing Watson’s total bond to $650,000. His cases were continued to Sept. 12.
According to the bail commissioner, Watson’s criminal history includes convictions for violating a protective order and third-degree assault, and a 2010 conviction for second-degree sexual assault and illegal sexual contact. The violation of probation charge Watson currently faces is related to the sexual assault conviction and is the fourth violation, the bail commissioner noted.
Watson’s attorney Dean Popkin said Watson has cooperated with police in the missing person investigation.
Jason Watson, 38, of 645 W. Main St., was arraigned on charges of third degree assault, strangulation and unlawful restraint Wednesday. | Lauren Sellew, Record-Journal
Watson’s arrest by warrant Tuesday stems from a domestic incident that occurred last Thursday, Aug. 15, Mennone said Wednesday morning.
According to the warrant, Watson called police on Sunday around 1:14 p.m. saying his live-in girlfriend “may be missing” or she may be at a friend’s house because she was mad at him. Watson told police he would call back if she didn’t go to work on Monday, and no formal missing person report was filed at that time, the warrant noted. The warrant refers to Mason as “Victim #1.”
Around 5:17 p.m. on Sunday police received a call from Mason’s sister saying she hadn’t heard from Mason in two days, the warrant said. The sister said Mason and Watson recently broke up following “heated fights,” the warrant said. The sister told police she last spoke with Mason on Thursday, when Mason told her about the alleged domestic violence earlier that morning, the warrant said. The sister said Mason told her Watson had choked her to the point of unconsciousness, the warrant said. The sister provided photographs to police which Mason had sent her showing red dots near her eye, a fat upper lip and redness on her neck, the warrant said.
Police spoke with Watson’s probation officer who said Watson called her “crying hysterically” on Aug. 19 to report that he had been in contact with police over Mason’s disappearance. Watson then came to the Meriden probation office for an unscheduled meeting.
The probation officer told police she saw a text message from Mason to Watson to the effect of “you almost killed me,” but that Watson denied any domestic violence, the warrant said.
Police noted it appears that Watson and Mason broke up on Aug. 13 and the alleged domestic violence occurred on Aug. 15. The two had communication through Aug. 17 “discussing the logistics of dealing with the minor children and Watson staying elsewhere,” the warrant said.
“It should be noted that Victim #1 is currently a missing person under suspicious circumstances,” the warrant said.
Perrie Mason | Courtesy Meriden police
According to statements in court, Mason’s two children have been placed in the custody of the state Department of Children and Families.
Outside of the courthouse on Wednesday Watson’s uncle, Kevin Raye, said it’s to be expected that Watson is a suspect because boyfriends and spouses are typically the first suspects in missing person incidents. Raye said the police are doing their due diligence and Watson’s family understands that.
“Right now we’re trying to stay positive, trying to stay hopeful,” Raye said. “The main thing right now is...making sure that Perrie is safe. Her safety and well being is our main concern. She is a part of our family.”
“Right now we’re there for both sides of the family,” said Shawnda Watson, Jason Watson’s sister-in-law. “And we’re just praying for a safe return for Perrie.”
Mennone said the missing person investigation is ongoing. State police responded to the West Main Street home Tuesday and assisted local police in evidence collection, Mennone said.
Mason is described as 4 feet, 11 inches tall, weighing 130 pounds with brown hair and brown eyes.
Anyone with information about Mason is asked to contact the Meriden Police Major Crimes Division, Detective Femia at 203-630-6219.