Man Arrested for Abducting, Murdering Teen Who Went Missing On Her Way to Church
Investigators say they have arrested the man who killed a Texas teen whose body was found next to her crashed minivan after she went missing on her way to church.
U.S. Marshals arrested Antonio Cochran, 34, for the abduction and murder of 18-year-old Zoe Hastings, who was found dead a day after she went missing, Dallas Police said.
Hastings was last seen by her family when she left her home on October 11 for a class at the Dallas Texas East Stake of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
Though she lived only minutes away from the church, she never made it to the class.
The following day, her body was found near her white 2007 Honda Odyssey, which was discovered in a creek near East Lake Highlands Drive and Easton Road. The teen’s home, her church and the creek where she was found are located within a mile of each other.
Investigators learned that Hastings drove to a nearby Walgreens Drug Store to return a movie she rented from a Red Box, where a witness reported seeing a man speaking to the teenager getting into her minivan around the time she disappeared.
“The witness described seeing the male get into the minivan as the female moved over to the passenger seat,” Dallas Police said.
Another witness reported seeing Hastings’ minivan crash into a speed limit sign near Newcombe Drive and Peavy Road, about two and a half miles from where her car was recovered, police said.
Results from DNA tests conducted on physical evidence recovered from the crime scene matched on Friday to Cochran, whose DNA was in a database for previous crimes, including felony drug and theft offenses, police said. Cochran matched the description to the man who was seen driving away from the Walgreens with Hastings, cops said.
“We gave this information to our detectives assigned to the U.S. Marshalls Fugitive Apprehension Team and in less than eight hours, they were able to locate and arrest him in an apartment in northeast Dallas,” said Maj. Max Geron with the violent crimes section of the Dallas Police Department in a press conference.
Geron said the motives for the abduction and murder were unclear, but said: “He’s obviously a sexual predator that’s been taken off the streets not to do this again.”
Cochran has not been charged with a sex crime in the incident and it was not clear if such a charge would occur.
Hastings did not know Cochran, Geron said.
Cochran was charged with capital murder. He was taken to Dallas County Jail and was being held on $1 million bond.
“This family, as you can imagine, is grieving, but is also happy about the way that this community came together, because it representative of the way that Zoe lived her life, a life that she lived for others, recognizing a power that was greater than herself,” the Hastings family spokeswoman Shonn Brown said during a press conference.
But for Hastings’ parents, their primary concerns focus on their family.
“There’s a sense of relief, obviously. At the same time, that’s not what we were most concerned about,” Hastings’ father, Jim Hastings, told WFAA. “What we’re most concerned about is that our children are going to be able to go back to school and that they’re going to be able to handle the loss of their sister.”