CMPD: Man likely strangled pregnant girlfriend, dumped body across state lines

A pregnant woman whose body was found dumped in a creek was likely strangled by her long-time boyfriend, according to police.

Natalie Nicholle Merrick, 23, was found on Oct. 19 on the side of Dobys Bridge Road in Fort Mill. The South Carolina Coroner completed an autopsy of the woman and determined that she had been pregnant at the time of her death. 

During their investigation, York County Detectives determined that the woman was killed elsewhere and then her body was dumped on the side of the road.

On October 20, CMPD officers responded to a Missing Person call for service in the 5600 block of Via Romano Drive in Charlotte. This was the last known address for the woman, but officers were unable to locate her. During their investigation, Missing Person Detectives determined that this woman, Natalie Nicholle Merrick, was the deceased woman who was located in South Carolina.   

The Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department and York County Sherriff’s Office conducted a joint investigation into this murder. On Tuesday, detectives determined that the murder occurred in Charlotte and developed a suspect, Mahmood Amjad Bhatti, 28.

The investigation revealed that Bhatti and Merrick were in a serious long-term relationship and had a child in common. 

Bhatti has been arrested and charged with murder and murder of an unborn child. He is currently being held at the Mecklenburg County Jail.  

This is an ongoing, active investigation.  

Anyone with information about this incident is asked to call 704-432-TIPS and speak directly to a Homicide Unit Detective. Detective Isenhour is the lead detective assigned to the case. The public can also call Crime Stoppers at 704-334-1600.