SAVANNAH, Ga. — Police went to Chad Moretz’s home to ask him about a friend who had gone missing and quickly found themselves in a tense standoff when a relative answered the door and whispered: “He’s got a rifle. He’s going to kill y’all.”
It was at least the fourth time in 18 months deputies had gone to see Moretz. Neighbors and relatives had accused him of chasing his wife with a machete, threatening to kill a man with a handgun and stabbing a dog with a pocket knife. But none of that prepared investigators for what they found Jan. 11 after Moretz walked onto his front porch with an assault rifle and was killed by a SWAT team sniper.
Inside the home, amid filth and roaches and foul odors, police found the missing man’s severed head and two hands hidden behind a kitchen cabinet inside a hole in the wall. The rest of the body, dismembered by a power saw and wrapped in bags, was discovered in a storage locker a half-hour away in neighboring South Carolina.
“I don’t believe there was a motive,” said David Ehsanipoor, an investigator for the Effingham County Sheriff’s Office. “It wasn’t a drug deal gone bad or a love triangle. Chad was just crazy.”
Medical examiners confirmed the body belonged to Charlie Ray, 35. Ray had been a friend of Moretz, and his family had been searching for him since New Year’s Eve.
An autopsy showed Ray was stabbed more than 40 times and had been dead more than a week before his remains were found. Moretz’s wife told investigators her husband and Ray had been drinking and talking, then started arguing. She said Moretz grabbed a knife and started repeatedly stabbing Ray in their kitchen, Ehsanipoor said. Investigators suspect Ray’s body was dismembered to make it easier to hide.
Ray’s mother, Sandi Ray, said in a brief phone interview her son struggled with Tourette’s syndrome.
Though investigators said they believe Moretz alone killed Ray, his wife and brother-in-law have been charged with helping conceal the death.
Kimberly Moretz did not immediately return a message left at a phone number listed for her on a police report.
Investigators said it was one of the siblings who told authorities during the standoff that Ray’s remains were hidden in a storage locker in nearby Jasper, S.C.
“Everybody’s still in a state of shock,” said Edgerly, Ray’s longtime friend. “This isn’t supposed to happen.”