The day of the arrest, Ella's ex-husband Jason Hans posted a heartbreaking Facebook post, in which he said he knew she was in an abusive relationship the whole time, and that she even had texted him: "If smth happens to me that might look like an accident, don't believe it."
In the lengthy post, Hans claimed that he agreed with investigators to stay silent after Ella's disappearance so as not to alert her husband that he was the only suspect.
"I wrote the following a week after Ella's October 20 disappearance, but was unable to post it then due to her husband not knowing that he was a suspect — in fact, the only suspect — in her disappearance and presumed murder," he wrote.
"His story was that she had left voluntarily, and he was openly talking with police (pretending to cooperate, but obviously lying) in an effort to sell that story, so the detectives played along while documenting his lies and gathering evidence to convict him of murder."
In the post he describes the insane trauma that brought them both together: Elle fled her native Ukraine, where she had been forced to marry an abusive husband under duress, who eventually died while imprisoned for beating a man to death; while Hans too was a widower after his wife was murdered.
The scars of those traumas proved too much for their marriage, but they remained close friends after they split and she remarried and had a son; so close in fact that he was the person she confided in when her third husband allegedly became abusive.
"In the summer of 2015, she began conveying to me that she feared for her safety," he wrote. "The messages and rushed phone calls were all too regular in recent years: 'I need your help,' 'I am very scared,' 'I am scared to the point of not being ok to get out of the bedroom to get a cup of milk or change my tampon,' ' I am being awakened at almost 3 in the morning and dragged through the house,' 'It is getting seriously scary [and] I am very worried about my child and myself.'
Hans, himself a professor of family sciences at the University of Kentucky, said he offered to provide all the financial and material support for her to leave him; "But as is often the case with women in these situations, she packed a bag to leave on multiple occasions, then hesitated because maybe she was overreacting, maybe it was the alcohol and not him, maybe she had done something wrong herself to provoke him."
He said her biggest fear of leaving was the possibility her husband would take her son, whom she loved "more than life itself", so she refused to risk it until a fail-safe exit plan was in place.
He said that three days before her disappearance, Ella began meeting with a lawyer on that exit plan; so began "the most dangerous time for women leaving an abusive relationship."
Hans said Ella was usually very cautious when communicating with him about the abuse, always deleting their conversations and instructing him never to text her about it unless she texted him first; however she began "expressing greater confidence" in recent months, and did not delete the Facebook conversation telling him about the secret lawyer meeting.
"That confidence was misplaced," he wrote. "Perhaps the single most horrifying moment (among many) two days after her disappearance and five days after secretly meeting with her lawyer was the discovery that her husband knew how to get into her phone."
Jackson has always denied any involvement in his wife's disappearance, claiming she left voluntarily -- thus leaving her car, phone, and the five-year-old she had never spent a night of his life away from behind too.
These facts suggest she was abducted against her will, "but tellingly, her husband exhibits neither concern nor curiosity for where she might be," Hans wrote.
"Truth is, getting people to believe the unbelievable is really his only hope for making all this go away, and isn't an entirely surprising strategy. In Ella's own prophetic words, 'If smth happens to me that might look like an accident, don't believe it.'"
In the now six-month old post, Hans concluded: "Ella has long been one among a few people who I cherish most in this life; one for whom I would literally give everything to support and my life to protect. Although legal documents indicate that our marriage ended more than a decade ago, our love and appreciation for one another never wavered and our hearts have been connected forevermore.
"Even as the details of what happened remain unclear, a sober reading of the known facts torments my soul to the core. I wail and scream in desperation like I've done once before, because the whispers in my head tell me I've been widowed by murder once more."
In their release, Richmond police said they had several recordings that Ella had secretly made of arguments with her husband. They said they also had evidence she told several individuals that she was afraid of her husband, and if anything ever happened to her, he would be responsible.
Jackson was charged with murder, domestic violence and tampering with physical evidence.
In his Facebook post, Hans revealed he has taken guardianship of his ex-wife and accused murderer's now six-year-old son — even though they have no blood relation.