PHILADELPHIA (AP) - Police have recovered the remains of a missing 24-year-old pregnant woman and arrested the father of the unborn child on murder charges, authorities announced Saturday.

The suspect, Stephen Poaches, is a former boyfriend of 24-year-old LaToyia Figueroa, who has been missing for a month. When Poaches, 25, was arrested in nearby Chester, police said he was wearing a bulletproof vest and carrying a pistol.

LaToyia Figueroa's father, Melvin Figueroa, said he was relieved that an arrest had been made.

``Now she can rest in peace,'' he said. ``All I want is justice with that peace.''

Figueroa, who was five months' pregnant when she disappeared and already the mother of a young girl, was last seen on the afternoon of July 18 in West Philadelphia.

The remains were recovered in a grassy, partially wooded lot near homes and a road in Chester. The area was cordoned off by yellow police tape Saturday morning.

A few dozen members of the Figueroa family and supporters arrived at the scene shortly after daybreak, clustering close to the police tape and embracing each other.

``Our hearts our broken ... we just want to spend some time here and take a look at this place where LaToyia unfairly was murdered,'' said a cousin of Figueroa, Philadelphia City Councilman Juan Ramos.

Relatives and friends, who have papered the city with flyers and held large-scale searches for any sign of Figueroa, had just marked the one-month anniversary of her disappearance. A reward fund for information had reached $100,000.


R.I.P.