Man accused of killing pregnant girlfriend appears in court

YORK, SC (WBTV) - A south Charlotte man accused of killing his pregnant girlfriend appeared before a judge Thursday afternoon.

Mahmood Amjad Bhatti was arrested and charged with murder in the death of his girlfriend and unborn child early Wednesday morning.

Flowers, candles and a stuffed animal were laid in front of his door where the couple once lived together.

According to court documents his girlfriend, 23-year-old Natalie Merrick, lived in the apartment on and off for several years.

In court, a judge denied Bhatti bond for the murder charge of his girlfriend but was gr anted a $500,000 bond for the murder of an unborn child charge.

Looking through court records, WBTV learned Natalie clocked out of work at Walmart on Pineville Matthews Road two days before her body was discovered near a creek in Fort Mill.

Video surveillance showed her getting into a Lexus. Police say Bhatti owns a Lexus.

According to the affidavit, he told police he brought her to their apartment on Via Romano Drive. He is the last person to report seeing her alive.

On Thursday, Oct. 19, her body was found near Dobys Bridge Road. Police say her cellphone was found by a person on Scaleybark Road. The person called Natalie's mother, who lives in Georgia, in reference to finding the phone.

Natalie's mother reported her missing the next day. The body found in York County was identified as Natalie based on the tattoos on her body.

According to her mother, based on what she was wearing when her body was found, she was likely about to go to bed the night she was murdered.

CMPD says she appeared to have been strangled.

Bhatti will be back in court on Nov. 8 for a bond hearing. He told the judge he had hired a private attorney who has represented him before.


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