Christian Teenager Murdered, Dumped in Creek on Her Way to Church

Zoe Hastings, Antonio Lamar Cochran
Zoe Hastings, 18, (L) and Antonio Lamar Cochran, 34, (R). |

Zoe Hastings, an 18-year-old Texas teenager who was getting ready for work in the mission field was murdered and her bloodied body dumped in a creek earlier this month while she was on her way to church.

Police revealed on Saturday that they had arrested a man they suspect carried out the crime but no motive has yet been released.

A probable cause affidavit cited by KSL and filed on Saturday, exactly one week aftter the teenager was buried, names Antonio Lamar Cochran, 34, as the suspected killer. A CBS report on Monday noted that earlier this year he was acquitted of sexual assault.

Investigators charge in the document that at about 4:42 p.m. on Oct. 11, Zoe left her home in Dallas to attend a church service at her local LDS ward.

On her way to church Zoe stopped at a Walgreens to drop off a Redbox movie and eyewitnesses say a man spoke with a woman matching Zoe's description.

Eyewitnesses in the affidavit say an unknown black male abducted Zoe by forcing her into the passenger seat of her family's white van and taking command of the vehicle. The following day at about 8:27 a.m., Zoe was found dead and the vehicle was discovered in the bed of a local creek.

The Dallas County Medical Examiner's Office ruled that she died of "homicidal violence." Investigators tied Cochran to the murder through his DNA found in blood at the crime scene. He has since been arrested and is now in the Dallas County Jail for capital murder with bail set at $2.5 million, according to KSL.

On Jan. 19 a jury found Cochran not guilty of sexual assault. In that report a young woman told police that Cochran had assaulted her last year, CBS reports.

Police reportedly pulled over a car Cochran was driving with the woman inside and after speaking with the woman privately the woman claimed Cochran was driving her to an apartment complex when he pulled her over into the woods. She alleged that Cochran covered her mouth with a rag then threatened to kill her if she didn't have sex with him. She said he then proceeded to sexually assault her. The evidence in the trial against Cochran, however, was not strong enough to produce a conviction.

"The independent witnesses and facts of the case simply did not convince the jury that the alleged victim was telling the truth," Chief Public Defender Rick Shumaker noted in the report.

At his daughter's funeral two Saturday's ago, Zoe's father, James Hastings, said he refused to be tortured by the way that she died.

"Her life was tragically taken, and to be quite honest, I don't know why she had to endure what she did," he said. "But I do know that her Savior was there to meet her in the end and that she was not alone."

Contact: Follow Leonardo Blair on Twitter: @leoblair Follow Leonardo Blair on Facebook: LeoBlairChristianPost

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