Antonio Lamar Cochran was arrested after DNA found at the crime scene was matched to him through a criminal database, according to Dallas Police. He was charged with capital murder and is being held on $2.5 million bail.
Cochran is accused of abducting Hastings on October 11 at a Walgreens store where she stopped to return a Redbox movie rental, police say. Hastings was found the next morning near her family’s minivan, which was crashed into a creek in Dallas.
Cochran was arrested Saturday by the U.S. Marshals’ Fugitive Apprehension Team.
Here’s what you need to know:
1. Hastings Was on Her Way to a Class at Church When She Was Abducted, Police Say
Dallas Police said at an earlier press conference that Zoe Hastings died of “obvious homicidal violence.” They did not release any other details about how she died.
Police said Hastings was reported missing by her family on the night of October 11. She was last seen leaving her home at about 4:45 p.m. to attend a 5 p.m. class at her church. Hastings was headed to The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints on East Lake Highlands Drive.
2. A Witness Saw Hastings Get Into Her Van With a Man at Walgreens
Police said Hastings stopped at a Walgreens to return a Redbox movie. A witness told police Hastings was seen entering her minivan with a man. Cochran matches the witness’s description, police say.
According to Major Max Geron, the witness said Hastings and the man exchanged words and the man then got into the driver’s seat of the van, while the woman moved to the passenger side. The witness did not see a struggle, Geron said.
Another witness told police Hastings minivan hit a speed-limit sign after it left the Walgreens, about a mile from the store. The van was found about 2 1/2 miles away from the sign, police said.
At about 8:30 a.m., police found Hastings’ white 2007 Honda Odyssey in White Rock Creek.
Joe Noriega, a parent at Hastings’ former high school, told NBC Dallas-Fort Worth that he was driving his daughter to school Monday morning when he was flagged down by a man. He said the man told him there was an injured girl in a nearby creek. Noriega said he walked into the creek, found Hastings’ body and called police.
3. Cochran’s Criminal History Dates to 1998 & Includes Felony Convictions
Cochran’s criminal history dates back to 1998, according to the Dallas Morning News. He has been convicted of felony theft, misdemeanor assault, felony burglary of a building and felony trespassing, the newspaper reports.
“He’s obviously a sexual predator that’s been taken off the streets, hopefully not to do this ever again,” Dallas Police Major Max Geron told reporters.
Cochran says on his Facebook page that he works at Hooters as a cook, but the restaurant told the Dallas Morning News he is no longer employed there and hasn’t been for several weeks. He also posted on his Facebook page about his time in prison and recently of attending a funeral for someone he referred to as “momie.” The funeral was the same day as Hastings’ funeral.
4. He Was Accused of Sexually Assaulting a 17-Year-old Girl in 2014, But Was Acquitted
Cochran was accused of sexually assaulting a 17-year-old girl in 2014, but was acquitted by a jury in Bowie County, Texas, earlier this year, TXKtoday.com reported.
The accuser was the daughter of Cochran’s girlfriend, the website reported. According to court documents, Cochran pulled his car over on the side of the road near woods while driving his girlfriend’s daughter to an apartment complex. She said he forced her to have nonconsentual sex with him in the car and in the woods.
“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 said in a statement at the time.
5. Hastings Was a Recent High School Graduate Who Worked at a Local YMCA as a Swimming Instructor
Hastings is a recent graduate of the Booker T. Washington High School for the Performing and Visual Arts in Dallas, according to her Facebook page. She worked as a swimming instructor at the White Rock YMCA.
Her family released a statement after Cochran’s arrest:
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.