Career Criminal Charged in Murder of Young Texas Woman on Her Way to Church
Dallas, Texas police announced on Saturday the arrest of thirty-four-year-old Antonio Cochran, a man with an extensive criminal record, in the murder of eighteen-year-old Zoe Hastings two weeks ago Sunday after she was abducted while on her way to church.
Police have not yet released details of Hastings’ murder, but in their initial statement issued October 13 on Hasting’s murder said she died from :
“…obvious homicidal violence.”
And in a statement made at a press conference Saturday said of Cochran:
“He’s obviously a sexual predator taken off the streets and will never do this again.”
Hastings was reported missing by her family the night of October 11. Earlier that day she had left the family home around 4:40 p.m. in a minivan headed for 5 p.m. church class at The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints on East Lake Highland Drive. She stopped on the way to drop off a Redbox video at a Walgreens, according to police. Witnesses saw Hastings at her vehicle talking to a Black man. One witness said the Black man got in the minivan through the driver’s door with Hastings moving over to the passenger seat.
The minivan was reported to have crashed into a speed limit sign a short distance away.
The minivan, with Hastings body in it, was found the next morning crashed in a creek across the street from her church about a mile away from the Walgreens.
Police said DNA found at the crime scene matched a profile on file for Cochran and that Cochran matched the witness description from the Walgreens.
WFAA-TV reporter Rebecca Lopez posted a video to Twitter of Cochran at the Dallas jail. He did not respond when she asked him about being charged with the murder of Hastings.
Video of Antonio Cochran at jail Suspect in Zoe Hastings murder. pic.twitter.com/J4FFD2Gj07
— Rebecca Lopez (@rlopezwfaa) October 24, 2015
WFAA reported Cochran has an extensive criminal history and recently worked at a Hooters in Texarkana.
“Public records show since 1998, he has faced charges for theft, assaulting a family member, burglary, and possession of a controlled substance among other things.
“In January, Cochran stood trial for sexually assaulting his girlfriend’s daughter, according to TXKtoday.com.” (Cochran was acquitted.)
…”News 8 confirmed Cochran used to work as a cook at Hooters in Texarkana, but the restaurant said he left three or four months ago.”
Dallas police have posted updates to the case at their DPD Beat blog.
The Dallas Morning News reported early Sunday morning that Cochran was being held on a capital murder charge on $2.5 million bond.
The Hastings family issued a statement Saturday though the Dallas police.
“The Family of Zoe Hastings is so grateful for the Dallas Police Department’s swift action in making this arrest. We feel one step closer to bringing closure to our family regarding this senseless tragedy. We also want to thank each and every person in the community who has supported us and the DPD in their efforts.
“The manner in which the entire community has banded together for the goal of honoring Zoe’s life and seeking to find the truth and justice is representative of how Zoe lived her life loving others and recognizing a power greater than herself.
“Please continue to keep the Hastings family in your thoughts and prayers.
“The Hastings Family”