A woman who suffered a “violent” death and whose body was found five days after she was reported missing probably died weeks before, police said.
June Jones’s sister reported her disappearance on Boxing Day and she was discovered in her West Bromwich flat by officers on New Year’s Eve.
A manhunt is under way for murder suspect Michael Foran who is believed to be an ex-partner of Ms Jones.
The West Midlands force has referred itself to the IOPC over the case.
Det Insp Warren Hines said Ms Jones, 33, died in a “really violent way”.
He told the BBC: “On the basis of what we’ve recovered from the scene and from what June’s family has told us, I think it’s probably fair to say she had probably lost her life around mid-December, a couple of weeks before we were notified that she was missing.”
Suspect Mr Foran, 32, was seen in Liverpool on Tuesday after leaving the West Midlands on Monday, with CCTV showing him at an Esso garage in the Anfield area of the city.
UK ports have been put on alert along with police in Ireland where he has family.
Describing him as “extremely dangerous”, Det Insp Hines said Mr Foran had lived with Ms Jones at the address where her body was found, and the force understood him to be an ex-partner.
Members of the public should not approach Mr Foran but dial 999 immediately, police have said.
The cause of Ms Jones’s death is not yet known, but police said there was evidence she sustained a “brutal assault with a weapon”.
Detectives have recovered an item, which is currently undergoing forensic testing.
A man has been charged with assisting Ms Jones suspected killer.
West Midlands Police said Keith O’Dwyer, 34, of Beaconview Road, West Bromwich, would appear at Walsall Magistrates’ Court on Saturday.
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