KINSTON, LENOIR COUNTY - Two years after a Kinston mother's dismembered body was dumped 1,200 miles from her home, the victim's father has filed a wrongful death lawsuit against her alleged killers.
The lawsuit was filed Wednesday in Lenoir County on behalf of Rodger Ackerson, the father of 27-year-old Laura Jean Ackerson. The mother of two was reported missing from her Kinston home on July 15, 2011. Her dismembered body was found nine days later in Oyster Creek in Richmond, Texas.
The father of Ackerson's two young boys, 33-year-old Grant Ruffin Hayes, has been charged with first-degree murder. The suspect's wife, 41-year-old Amanda Perry Hayes, faces the same charge.
According to the wrongful death lawsuit against the suspects, Ackerson "suffered mental and physical anguish, including disruption of and loss of enjoyment of life, lost earnings and loss of earning capacity."
The lawsuit states that as the administrator of Laura Ackerson's estate, her father is entitled to more than $10,000 from the suspects to cover damages, interest, and other costs.
Although documents of the lawsuit do not state a motive for Ackerson's death, family members had said she was involved in a custody battle with Grant Hayes for more than a year. Hayes was granted primary custody in 2010.
Investigators said they believe Grant and Amanda Hayes killed Ackerson in North Carolina, then dismembered her and packed her body parts in coolers, before dumping them in Texas. The creek where her remains were found is near the home of Amanda Haye's sister.
Grant Hayes' trial is scheduled to begin on August 26. Amanda Hayes' trial is expected to begin in January 2014.
Grant Hayes was a local musician in Raleigh.