The bloodied body of a woman beaten to death with a large rock in Ohio was mistaken for a gory Halloween decoration when a passerby found her hanging from a chain-link fence.
Donnie Cochenour Jr., 27, has been charged with murder in the death of Rebecca Cade, 31, in Chillicothe, Ohio, the Columbus Dispatch reports. Cochenour and Cade were “acquaintances,” according to the Chillicothe Gazette.
“It was straight out of a horror story,” Tammy Dixon, who lives near where Cade was found, told WCPO-TV.
Here’s what you need to know:
1. Cochenour Says He Got Into a Fight With Cade Near a Railroad Trestle
Donnie Cochenour Jr. told police he got into a fight with Cade near a railroad trestle not far from where her body was found, according to the Columbus Dispatch.
Cochenour, who was arrested Tuesday night, was arraigned Wednesday morning and held on $2 million bail.
Police said Cade had defensive wounds and tried to defend herself during the attack. She died of injuries to her head and face.
A man walking his dog found a shoe and cell phone near where the fight occurred, and police later found a bloody rock. A trail of blood was found leading to where Cade’s body was found.
2. She Was Hanging From the Fence by Her Arm When She Was Found
Police said Cade tried to hop the fence to escape from her killer and got stuck on it. She died with her wrist hanging from the fence. Her body had initially been dismissed as a dummy that was being used as a Halloween decoration.
“The victim had one arm up like this about four feet off the ground, hanging from the fence,” neighbor Tammy Dixon told WCPO-TV.
Construction workers removed the woman from the fence, neighbors said.
“I heard them over there, the construction guys, yelling. They had taken her down and that’s when (I realized), blam, this is not a dummy. It is real,” Dixon said.
Spooked neighbors or passersby often call 911 around Halloween, thinking a decorations display or a dummy is a crime victim. In Parma, Ohio, three hours away from Chillicothe, a family took down its display this year after complaints from neighbors.
Last October, a Long Island, New York man decapitated his mother, Patricia Ward, and left her in their front yard. Neighbors thought her body was part of a Halloween prank. Derek Ward later killed himself by jumping in front of a train. Read more about that story at the link below:
3. Cade Was the Mother of a Young Child & a Lifelong Resident of Chillicothe
Cade, the mother of a young child, was a lifelong resident of Chillicothe.
“Rebecca didn’t deserve that, what happened to her,” Denise Hughes, who is raising Cade’s 15-month old son, Bryan, told the Columbus Dispatch. “She was always running the streets and always doing drugs but she had people who loved her. I hope she knew that.”
Ashley Kellough, who knew both Cochenour and Cade, told the Chillicothe Gazette, “She was cool, calm, collective, had great heart. She was a great girl.”
Others said Cade had learning disabilities and was an easy target.
“She was very gullible, very easily misled, as long as she thought you were her friend she would do just about anything for you,” Tabitha Long told WSYX-TV. “I was shocked, I mean, it is very heartbreaking because she was such a nice girl, I can’t fathom it, I don’t think it’s set in yet.”
4. Cochenour Has Been Arrested Several Times in the Past
Cochenour has been charged 21 times with failure to appear in court and had several other arrests, according to the Chillicothe Gazette. He was put on three years of community control sanctions after he was convicted of second-degree resisting arrest, a misdemeanor, in July 2013.
“I can’t believe Donnie would do something like this,” Ashley Kellough, who lived in the same neighborhood as him, told the newspaper.
“This person is behind bars, locked up where he needs to be,” Police Chief Keith Washburn said at a press conference. “Hopefully taking him off the street will make this community a little bit safer. We need the public’s help, they need to be vigilant and watchful.”
5. Cade’s Death Is Not Believed to Be Connected to a String of Killings in the Area
Police said Cade’s death is an isolated incident and is not believed to be connected to the killings of several other women in the Chillicothe area in the past year.
Four women have been found dead and two women have disappeared since 2014.