A man Dallas police called a sexual predator has been arrested and charged in connection with the kidnapping and murder of a young Texas woman. The woman was abducted while on her way to church earlier this month.
Dallas County prosecutors have charged Antonio Lamar Cochran, 34, with capital murder, according to a WFAA report. Police reports indicate that Cochran allegedly kidnapped and then killed Zoe Hastings, 18, after talking with her outside a Walgreens drug store where she stopped on her way to church for a class on the afternoon of October 11.
Her lifeless body was later found in her family’s minivan she had been driving in a creek in the Lake Highlands area of Dallas. Forensic evidence inside the van, along with security video from the Walgreens store led police to Cochran.
“In less than eight hours they were able to locate and arrest him at an apartment in northeast Dallas early this morning,” said Dallas Police Major Max Geron during a press conference on Saturday.
WFAA reports Cochran has an extensive criminal history dating back nearly twenty years. Since 1998 he has been arrested for domestic violence assault, burglary, and possession of a controlled substance. In January of this year, Cochran was charged and tried for the alleged sexual assault of his girlfriend’s daughter. The jury acquitted him because they reportedly did not believe the girlfriend’s testimony.
Police are unsure of Cochran’s motive in the kidnapping and murder of Hastings. “That’s something we simply don’t know,” Geron explained to reporters. “He’s obviously a sexual predator, taken off the streets and will never do this again.”
Hastings’ family has mostly remained silent during the search for the killer of their loved one. Eventually, they were able to release a statement about the loss of Zoe:
We are devastated at the loss of our daughter Zoe.
Today, we express our gratitude to local law enforcement, officials, and loved ones helping our family.
Our Zoe was full of life and love and light. She was full of talent. She was happy and joyful. She is loved by her parents and her siblings. She loved the Lord, Jesus Christ, and loved serving others. She was planning to serve a mission to share this message of the Savior’s love with others. It pains us to know that her life has been taken, yet we feel comfort in knowing that our family is forever and we will be together again someday.
We are grateful for the privacy and respect given to us during this extremely difficult time. Please continue to pray for our family. We appreciate and need your support.
Maj. Geron said, during the press conference on Saturday, that Hastings had stopped at the Walgreens to drop off a previously rented Redbox video. She never made it to the 5 p.m. class at her church. Her family and friends immediately began searching for her and informed police that she was missing.
Police said that Cochran did not know Hastings and was seen talking to her at the Walgreens where she appears to have been abducted.
On Monday morning, someone reported a vehicle crashed into the creek that was near her church. Police found the van and her body inside the van and said she was the victim of “obvious homicidal violence,” the Daily Mail reported.
NBCDFW reports that DNA evidence inside the van matched Cochran’s DNA in a database. Cochran was seen by witnesses entering the van at the Walgreens story where Hastings had stopped to return a Redbox video. Members of the U.S. Marshall’s Fugitive Apprehension Team quickly located the man and arrested him on Saturday.
Cochran is being held in the Dallas County Jail. His bond was originally set at $1 million but has since been raised to $2.5 million.
Bob Price serves as associate editor and senior political news contributor for Breitbart Texas and is a member of the original Breitbart Texas team. Follow him on Twitter @BobPriceBBTX.