Charlotte man accused of killing pregnant girlfriend expected to enter plea

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — A Charlotte man, accused of killing his pregnant girlfriend, is expected to enter a plea in court Thursday.

Prosecutors said Mahmood Bhatti strangled Natalie Merrick to death in October.


Channel 9 learned Merrick's mother had reported her missing the day after deputies in York County found her body in a culvert on the side of Dobys Bridge Road in Fort Mill.

Detectives believe Bhatti killed Merrick somewhere else and then dumped her body.

Prosecutors said the two were in a long-term relationship and had a child together.


Warrants obtained by Channel 9 show that investigators searched the internet history on Bhatti’s cellphone. Just days before Merrick’s disappearance and death, investigators said Bhatti searched, “Can you put a gag in someone’s mouth,” “How to gag someone so they can’t scream,” and “How to properly choke a girl.”

The warrants also showed that the day before Merrick’s body was found, Bhatti’s phone searched “Best secluded spots near me.”