A murdered woman was discovered this week hanging from a chain-link fence in Ohio, but passersby ignored the victim at first because they assumed it was a Halloween prank, cops confirm to PEOPLE.
Chillicothe, Ohio, cops say the victim, Rebecca Cade, 31, had been severely beaten and was trying to run away, but as she climbed the fence, her sleeve got entangled in the barbs on top of the fence. “She ended up passing away dangling from the fence,” Det. Bud Lytle tells PEOPLE.
Lytle believes Cade was beaten with a grapefruit-sized rock in a field, and that she managed to make it 150 yards to the fence. Her cause of death was blunt force trauma to the head and neck, he says. Cops found a blood-coverd rock at the scene of the crime, which they believe was the murder weapon.
Several people noticed the woman’s body on the fence but didn’t initially comprehend what they were seeing. “There were some neighbors taking their kids to school,” Lytle says. “They thought it was a Halloween decoration.”
The dead body was only identified as such when a construction worker who also thought it was a decoration went to remove it, and realized it was a human body.
The suspect in the case is Donnie Cochenour Jr., 27, of Chillicothe, who has been charged with one count of murder. Cops say Cade and Cochenhour had become embroiled in an altercation late Monday or early Tuesday when he allegedly grabbed a rock and beat her with it.
Cops don’t have a motive at this point, says Lytle, who adds, “We do not know the extent of the relationship. They were at least acquaintances.”
Following a tip, police arrested Cochenour Tuesday night after “we found some additional evidence implicating him in the crime,” Lytle says. Cochenhour has pleaded not guilty, and is being held in the Ross County Jail on a $2 million bond, Sherri Rutherford, Chillicothe city law director, tells PEOPLE.
Cochenour has “mental health issues,” Rutherford says, and once was found not guilty by reason of insanity in an assault case.
Cade also “was familiar to us,” Lytle says.
Tabitha Long, one of Cade’s friends, told local television stations that Cade suffered from learning disabilities. Rutherford confirmed that Cade was receiving public services for developmental disability issues. “She was very gullible, very easily misled, as long as she thought you were her friend she would do just about anything for you,” Long said, according to UpNorthLive.
Cade had a 15-month-old son, according to the Columbus Dispatch, which reported the boy was being raised by an aunt.
Cade’s case is a morbid contrast to a scene in Detroit recently in which passersby were alarmed by a Halloween prop dummy they mistook for a real person.
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