Tricia McCauley: ‘Step Up’ Actress And Yoga Instructor Found Dead, Man Charged With Her Murder

Police have charged a man with the killing of Step Up actress and Washington D.C. yoga instructor Tricia Lynn McCauley, after she vanished on Christmas Day.

Adrian Duane Johnson, 29, has been charged with first-degree felony murder in relation to Tricia McCauley’s Sunday slaying, according to The Washington Post.

Tricia, 46, was slated to attend a holiday party with fellow artists and friends on Christmas Day, making a pie for the event. At around 4:30 p.m. she posted on Facebook that she was en route, The Post reports. Tricia did not show up to the celebration.

Bill Largess, who was hosting the annual holiday party and is the artistic director for the Washington Stage Guild, told The Post that initially, friends weren’t overly worried that Tricia was absent because in the past, she had “slept through a similar dinner.” But when she failed to get on a plane headed to Oregon for a family visit on Monday, friends and family became frantic.

An exhaustive search began of the area for Tricia, however, family and friends were unable to locate her. Then, on Tuesday, December 27, a man walking his dog in the Dupont Circle region spotted Tricia’s Scion iQ, apparently recognizing the bumper sticker which read, “Plant more plants.”

The Post reports the man called police, which eventually led authorities to locate Tricia’s vehicle near a CVS pharmacy. They approached the man who had been seen driving the white, two-door Scion iQ and he surrendered the vehicle’s keys to police when asked to do so. When the car was opened, law enforcement found Tricia’s body.

Tricia McCauley found murdered
[Image by Metropolitan Police Department]

The medical examiner’s office announced that Tricia, who was a mere 5-foot-4-inches tall and weighed just 115 pounds, died from blunt force trauma and asphyxia due to strangulation, the New York Daily News reports.

Tricia’s brother, Brian, took to Facebook after his sister was found, according to the Huffington Post and wrote,

“Tricia is gone, they have found her body… Thank you all for your work, support and love. To all of her D.C. family, I know she truly thought of you that way, thank you for being there for her all these years. Hang on to each other.”

Police say they believe that Tricia and Johnson were strangers and did not know one another. They also announced authorities do not know precisely where or when Tricia was murdered.

According to CBS News, police need the public’s help in order to build an accurate timeline of what happened between the time Tricia vanished and the discovery of her body.

The Post reports that Johnson is not a stranger to the criminal justice system and has a “long record of arrests,” however, most of them are for nonviolent crimes, including theft, in D.C., Maryland, and Virginia. According to the news media outlet, “Court files contain notations of possible mental illness,” even though Johnson had been ‘ruled competent in the past.'”

Johnson’s stepfather, Russell Dixon, told The Post that Johnson had mental issues and was homeless, but noted he never saw any type of violent behavior from him. Dixon further stated that the court system had been “too lenient” on Johnson and should not have let him go because he needed help.

Apparently, Johnson had been arrested earlier in December, charged with stealing toothbrushes from a CVS pharmacy. According to The Post, prosecutors requested Johnson only be released if he was required to wear a GPS monitor and be mandated to home confinement. The judge complied, also ordering Johnson to obtain mental health screening, but Johnson never showed up on December 21, as ordered, to have the GPS device placed on his ankle.

According to the Huffington Post, Tricia was a stand-in for Jenna Dewan Tatum for the feature film Step Up and also starred in two short films, Never Dream: The Beginning and The Paper Girl.

[Featured Image by JaysonPhotography/Thinkstock]