The East Feliciana Parish jail inmate who escaped Saturday from a work-release program is the primary suspect in the death of his longtime girlfriend, and police believe he later committed suicide hours later by leaping off the Mississippi River bridge.

Zachary Police Chief David McDavid said Monday that Alvin Dixon, 39, is accused in the slaying of Aleshia Dixon, 35, whose body was found Saturday afternoon face down at the entrance to a storage facility on La. 19 near Lower Zachary Road.

A passer-by found the woman's body about 3 p.m., McDavid said.

Even though the two have the same last name, officials said, they were not married. Both were residents at various times of Woodville, Mississippi, according to authorities.

“Alvin Dixon is our suspect, our only suspect, and we’re still searching for him at this time,” McDavid said during a press conference Monday morning at the Zachary Police station.

An autopsy conducted Monday concluded that Aleshia Dixon's died after suffering multiple stab wounds, said Dr. Beau Clark, the East Baton Rouge Parish coroner.

McDavid said there was no murder weapon found at the entrance to the facility or at the apparent murder scene between two buildings in the storage facility 30 to 40 yards from the entrance.

McDavid had been reluctant to say much about the cause of death until the autopsy was complete.

"There was blood everywhere but we didn’t have obvious signs of where the wounds were at," he said.

Alvin Dixon, a state prisoner housed at the East Feliciana lockup, is believed to have walked off his job at Premier Produce in Zachary about 2 p.m. Saturday, just minutes before authorities believe Aleshia Dixon was killed; officials didn’t notice he was gone, though, until they they arrived about 6:30 p.m. Saturday to pick up inmates from the work site, said Greg Phares, chief deputy for the East Feliciana Parish Sheriff’s Office.

David Pizzolato, owner of Premier Produce, declined to comment Monday.

How Alvin Dixon might have gotten from the grocery store to the storage facility a half mile away is unclear. East Feliciana Sheriff Jeff Travis said the victim visited the grocery store a few times in the past, raising the possibility she came by there on Saturday as well.

McDavid and Travis said they have yet to settle on a likely motive for why Alvin Dixon would kill the woman he dated on and off for 18 years. They acknowledged they’ve yet to uncover any reports of past domestic abuse.

“We don’t understand exactly why he would have done this, except we do know that they had a relationship,” Travis said.

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About 10 p.m. Saturday night, a Baton Rouge police officer saw a man on western end of the Interstate 10 Mississippi River bridge, McDavid said. When the officer approached the man, he jumped off the bridge into the river, McDavid said. Officers believe that man was Alvin Dixon after investigators found Aleshia Dixon's car on top of the bridge, which they say he likely drove there.

West Baton Rouge sheriff's deputies are searching the Mississippi River for the body, and the State Police crime lab is examining the abandoned car for evidence, McDavid said.

“It appears that he jumped off the Mississippi River bridge,” McDavid said. “But for now, we do not have his body or he’s not in custody, so he is still a prime suspect.”

West Baton Rouge Sheriff Mike Cazes said poor weather and busy river traffic prevented him from sending out search boats and planes Monday, but he said he hopes to resume the search Tuesday.

“With the current in that river there’s no telling where (the body) could be,” Cazes said.

Alvin Dixon was incarcerated after he was sentenced in 2016 on charges of unauthorized use of a motor vehicle and theft of more than $500.

The Louisiana Department of Corrections in February approved Dixon to participate in the work release program. He was scheduled to be released June 8, 2018.

Seth Smith, chief of operations for the state agency, said his office will conduct a review as details from the investigation emerge. Nevertheless, he defended the work release program, noting that more than 99 percent of participants remain on the job. He also said those who work before leaving jail are less likely to commit new crimes.

Smith said Alvin Dixon was clearly qualified for the program based on what authorities knew at the time.

“This guy was a nonviolent offender and there are no red flags that I can see at this point,” he said.