Police say Judson Hoover filed for divorce a day after reporting his wife Rebecca Hoover missing

By Chris Harris
September 04, 2020 10:18 AM
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Three days after authorities arrested him for killing his estranged wife, an Indiana man has confessed to the crime in open court, entering a guilty plea Thursday to one count of murder.

According to local reports, Judson Hoover's 8-year-old son approached a counselor at his elementary school, telling the counselor he watched his dad kill his mother in the family's basement.

Hoover, 50, reported his 38-year-old wife Rebecca Hoover missing back on Aug. 2 — a day before he filed divorce papers.

After the boy's statement to the counselor, school officials contacted police, the Courier-Journal reports. Investigators spoke to Hoover's son, who allegedly said he saw his father attack his mother, describing how he'd stomped on her head about 20 times while wearing work boots.

The child also said Hoover punched the unresponsive mother of three while holding a set of keys in his hand as she laid on the ground, reports WHAS.

Hoover was arrested Monday, according to WDRB, as he tried to pick up his children from school. He went before a judge Thursday and entered his guilty plea.

The reports indicate affidavits filed in the case say traces of blood were found near the bottom of the basement steps. Those affidavits also detail prior allegations of domestic battery, and show Hoover was charged with strangulation in April.

Judson Keith Hoover
Judson Keith Hoover
| Credit: Floyd County Jail

It was unclear Friday if he'd entered pleas in that case or if it had been adjudicated.

As the investigation continued, authorities eventually learned that Hoover had rented a self-storage unit two days after reporting his wife missing. Surveillance footage reviewed by detectives shows Hoover moving what appears to be a body into the space.

Police executing a search warrant of the unit could smell body decomposition once inside.

Detectives learned late last month Hoover had a rented a second storage unit in Louisville, Kentucky. When they searched that unit, police found a 55-gallon drum containing Rebecca's decomposing remains.

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An autopsy of the body showed Rebecca died from blunt force trauma to the head and abdomen, supporting the son's account of how his mother was killed.

"I'm profoundly sad for the family of Rebecca Hoover," Floyd County Prosecutor Chris Lane told reporters during a press conference Thursday.

Hoover remains in custody, and will be sentenced on Oct. 2.