Crime

DNA Evidence Leads Dallas Police To Zoe Hastings' Killer

| by James Brannigan
Left: Zoe Hastings, Right: Antonio Lamar CochranLeft: Zoe Hastings, Right: Antonio Lamar Cochran

DNA evidence has led to an arrest in the murder and abduction of 18-year-old Zoe Hastings of Dallas, police say.

Antonio Lamar Cochran, 34, was arrested on a charge of capital murder and is being held on $2.5 million bail, Maj. Max Geron of the Dallas Police Department said during a press conference on Oct. 24.  Police were able to make the arrest after the results of the DNA test were concluded, CBS News reports.

Cochran, who was already in the database, was arrested by U.S. marshals at an apartment in northeast Dallas early the morning of Oct. 24. 

On Oct. 11, Hastings was on her way to a class at the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints when she stopped off at a Walgreens to return a Redbox movie, according to a police report cited by Dallas News.  Witnesses said that they saw a man fitting Cochran's description talking to Hastings before they both got into a minivan and drove away. 

Her father reported her missing that day after she didn't show up to the church, and the following morning authorities found the minivan with her body inside in a creek. 

Geron added that police don't believe the two knew each other.

“He’s obviously a sexual predator that’s been taken off the streets,” Geron said during the press conference, according to Dallas News.

(Antonio Lamar Cochran. Photo Credit: Dallas County Jail)

In February 2014, Cochran was accused of sexually assaulting a 17-year-old in her car in Texarkana, Texas. Cochran allegedly offered a girl a ride and then threatened to kill her if she didn't have sex with him. He was acquitted of the charges in January. According to public records, Cochran's criminal history stretches back to 1998 and includes convictions for felony theft, misdemeanor assault, felony burglary of a building, and felony trespassing.

"This family, as you can imagine, is grieving," Shonn Brown, a spokeswoman for the Hastings family, said, "but is also happy about the way this community came together because it is representative of the way that Zoe lived her life -- a life that she lived for others, recognizing a power that was greater than herself."

More than a thousand people showed up for Hastings' funeral on Oct. 17. On that same day, Cochran posted a picture to his Facebook of him attending a funeral for someone he called his mother.

Source: Dallas News, CBS Local News / Photo Credit: WFAATV, ABC News via Yahoo! News