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Man charged after woman's body found in trash can inside Adams County storage unit

Gregory Thomas, 36, was captured in northern Washington. He's accused of a killing a young woman in March.

ADAMS COUNTY, Colo. — A man has been charged in a case where the body a 21-year-old woman was found in an Adams County storage unit on May 20. Court records state that the victim, Lavanya Jain, was killed on March 18.

Gregory Thomas, 36, is being held in the Adams County Detention Center under no bond. He has been charged with:

  • First-degree murder 
  • Tampering with a deceased human body
  • First-degree aggravated motor vehicle theft

>Video above: 500 shoes were stolen from an Aurora storage unit from the adult inventory for the non-profit called Wholly Kicks.

According to the arrest affidavit in the case, Adams County Sheriff's Office (ACSO) detectives tracked Thomas to Lynden, Washington, which is 120 miles north of Seattle near the U.S.-Canada border. 

Thomas was taken into custody on a parole violation, the affidavit says. Thomas was sentenced to six years in prison after pleading guilty to felony identity theft in 2015, according to court records.

Credit: Adams County Sheriff's Office
Gregory Thomas

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Detectives interviewed Thomas and he told them he had met Jain in late 2020 through an escort website, the affidavit says. Thomas told detectives Jain made him an offer to partner up to commit white collar crimes, the affidavit says.

Thomas said Jain began staying at his house, and wanted him to "take care" of people who wronged her, the affidavit says. 

Gregory told investigators he was working a lot at the Salvation Army shelter at the Denver Coliseum, the affidavit says. Thomas said he went to his residence on March 19 when he thought Jain wouldn't be there, the affidavit says.

Thomas said he went to the basement where he was staying and Jain was sitting on the couch, the affidavit says. Thomas said Jain pulled a gun from under a pillow and pointed it at him, the affidavit says. He said he thought Jain was going to shoot him so he pulled a gun from his waistband and shot her, the affidavit says. Thomas said as Jain was falling off the couch after being hit by the first bullet she was still holding the gun and he said he shot her two more times, the affidavit states. Thomas said he then moved around her and shot her once more, the affidavit says.

Thomas said he wrapped Jain's body in a blanket, hid her body in his bedroom and then went for a drive to figure out what he needed to do, the affidavit says. He told investigators he went to a Home Depot to buy a trash can and then rented a storage unit on March 23 at FreeUp Storage located at 8700 Devonshire Blvd., the affidavit says.

Thomas said he put Jain's body in the trash can, taped it up and put the trash can in the storage unit, the affidavit says. 

On May 19, an employee at FreeUp called deputies because of a "terrible smell" and a liquid that was coming from a unit that had been rented to Thomas, according to the affidavit. The responding deputy tried contacting Thomas and the emergency contact to the unit, the affidavit states. The emergency contact, whose name was redacted in the affidavit, told the deputy she believed there was a freezer in the storage unit full of deer meat, the affidavit says. Since the storage unit owners did not come to the facility and open the door, deputies could not legally enter, the affidavit says. The responding deputy took a report and noted the suspiciousness of the call in his notes, the affidavit says. 

The next day, May 20, deputies were called back to the storage facility as the staff was going to enter the unit, the affidavit says. The storage facility's corporate manager said he spoke with Thomas about the smell and the leeching liquid, the affidavit says. The manager said Thomas said he would come down and clean the mess up, but never showed, the affidavit says. After Thomas didn't show, the manager said they would clean up the mess and see what was causing the leak, the affidavit says. 

An employee at the storage facility cut the unit's lock and placed trash bags on the floor to so they would not step in the fluid, the affidavit states. The only thing in the unit was a trash can, the affidavit says. The employee cracked open the lid to the trash can and immediately sprinted out of unit into the hallway past the deputy and into the parking lot, the affidavit says.

In the parking lot, the employee told deputies "there's a body in there," the affidavit says. A deputy asked the employee if he saw a face, to which the employee responded "I saw feet," the affidavit says. The deputy went inside the unit and looked inside the trash can and saw what appeared to be a human foot and torso, the affidavit says.

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