Missing Teen Zoe Hastings Allegedly Killed By Sexual Predator

The body of missing teen Zoe Hastings has been found, but there are developments in this case which have made a tragic situation even more horrifying. The Daily Mail reports that a 34-year-old man has been arrested, and stands accused of killing the Texas teen in a crime that appears to be sexually motivated.

When Hastings went missing around October 11, her loved ones were immediately worried about her whereabouts. That’s because the 18-year-old Dallas teen missed an early-evening class she was scheduled to attend at The Booker T. Washington High School for the Performing and Visual Arts. She had also reportedly missed church that day, but was last seen at a Walgreens store talking to a then unidentified black male. According to witnesses, the Texas teen scooted from the driver’s side seat to the passenger seat, and the male climbed into the vehicle, before driving away from the store.

Antonio Cochran via Dallas County Jail Antonio Cochran [Photo via Dallas County Jail]The following day, the body of Zoe Hastings was found in her vehicle, which was found in a creek after it had apparently driven down a steep ravine away from a rural Texas road. The Dallas Morning News reported that DNA was found that belonged to 34-year-old Antonio Cochran, who was reportedly arrested previously and had a criminal history reaching as far back as 1998. The accused killer had at least one pre-existing felony conviction on his criminal record.

Most of his criminal history involves crimes associated with theft, burglary and breaking-and-entering. However, in 2014 he was accused of sexually assaulting a 17-year-old girl. The Heavy reports that he was ultimately acquitted in that case. Authorities have declared the prior sexual-assault charge didn’t stick because the accuser was inconsistent in her claims. Furthermore, witness reports and weather conditions contradicted statements made against Cochran. It was possible that he was being falsely accused at the time, because the woman only made rape accusations after the duo was caught with drugs in their possession.

Few details have been released regarding the murder of 18-year-old Zoe Hastings, but authorities in Texas have charged the 34-year-old suspect with capital murder — a charge which carries the death penalty as a sentence in the state. He is currently being held in jail on bail in the amount of $2.5 Million. Meanwhile, a probable cause affidavit has been released, which outlines some of the details that led to the man’s arrest after the discovery of Zoe’s murdered body. At this time, her cause of death has not yet been revealed by authorities, who are building their case against the accused sexual predator. Texas detectives have referred to him as a sexual predator without sharing other details surrounding the crimes he is accused of committing. However, this seems to indicate that Zoe Hastings was murdered with the motive of sexual violence.

At this time, it’s not known if Cochran has given any statements regarding the accused murder of Zoe Hastings, nor is it known if he has plans to admit to the crimes he is accused of committing.

Meanwhile, the loved ones of the slain woman are asking for privacy and respect as they mourn the loss of their oldest child and beloved member of their community and church congregation.

[Photo via family of Zoe Hastings/Dallas County Police]