Zoe Hastings died of homicidal violence in Oct. 2015

By Elaine Aradillas
January 15, 2018 03:33 PM

It was unusual for Zoe Hastings not to show up.

The 18-year-old high school graduate from Dallas had planned to attend a class at The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints on the evening of Oct. 11, 2015, but she never made it.

Her parents reported her missing and were growing frantic with each unanswered text and call. Over the course of the night, they ultimately figured out how to use a phone-location app and tracked down their daughter’s location — in a creek bed near her church.

When her parents arrived, there was already a crowd outside a crime scene set up by Dallas police, according to testimony reported in The Dallas Morning News.

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“They gave us the horrible news,” Cheryl Hastings, the teen’s mother, testified in a capital murder trial on Thursday.

Zoe HastingsCredit: Facebook
Zoe Hastings
| Credit: Facebook

Zoe was found dead outside her family’s crashed minivan in the creek. She had been sexually assaulted, stabbed and left for dead, according to multiple reports. Dallas police said at the time she did not die in the crash, but instead died of “obvious homicidal violence.”

Weeks later, police arrested Antonio Cochran. Authorities alleged DNA evidence found at the crime scene matched Cochran via a criminal database, according to TV station WFAA.

Antonio CochranCredit: Dallas County Sheriff s Department
Antonio Cochran
| Credit: Dallas County Sheriff s Department

After Cochran’s arrest, a spokesperson for the Hastings Family released a statement: “This family, as you can imagine, is grieving, but is also happy about the way this community came together because it is representative of the way that Zoe lived her life — a life that she lived for others, recognizing a power that was greater than herself.”

At the time, a witness told police she saw the teen talking to a man at a local Walgreen’s the day she disappeared.

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On Friday, another witness alleged to the jury that “it looked like [the kidnapper] was trying to sneak up” on the teen as she entered her minivan.

The witness said the kidnapper pushed his way into the vehicle and drove off with Zoe inside.

Cochran has pleaded not guilty. His defense attorney questioned the witness about his account since he was across the street from the alleged incident and wondered whether the person he saw was Cochran.

The trial will resume Tuesday.