COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — Police shed little light Monday on why five people, apparently newly acquainted, would be involved in the suffocation death and dismemberment of a western Ohio woman.
Police allege 21-year-old Jessica Rae Sacco, whose dismembered body was found in her Urbana apartment Friday morning, was killed by her on-again, off-again boyfriend while a Michigan couple who had recently moved in with them and another Ohio couple watched or helped dispose of the body.
Police say Matthew Puccio, 25, stabbed Sacco before placing a bag over her head and suffocating her. With the help of Andrew Forney, 26, and his wife, Kandis Forney, 25, both of Fenton, Mich., police say, Puccio was able to dismember the body before disposing of some pieces. Some parts were found in Hamilton, about 80 miles south of Urbana, and in Covington, Ky., a few miles south of Cincinnati.
Urbana Police Chief Matt Lingrell said Monday that Puccio and Sacco met the Forneys on the Internet but the police chief wouldn't be more specific. He said the couples had known each other only a short time before the Forneys moved into the Urbana apartment about a month ago.
Lingrell said it wasn't clear how Puccio and Sacco knew the Ohio couple — Christopher Wright, 37, and Sharon Cook, 25, also from Urbana — but all five suspects were only recently acquainted.
"They're just loose friends," the police chief said.
Police would not discuss a motive for the killing, which they believe occurred around March 22.
Puccio and the Forneys were arrested in Hamilton over the weekend, and were being transferred back to Urbana on Monday to face charges there. Puccio was arrested on charges of murder, assault, corpse abuse and tampering with evidence. The Forneys were arrested on numerous charges. The police chief did not know if Puccio or the Forneys had attorneys or whether bail had been set for them.
Wright and Cook were arrested on charges including corpse abuse and tampering with evidence. They were arraigned by video in Urbana Municipal Court on Monday, and bail was set at $50,000 each. Messages left for attorneys representing them were not immediately returned.
Police allege the Forneys, Wright and Cook were in the apartment when Sacco was killed but they failed to intervene. Police say Puccio and Andrew Forney moved Sacco's body to the bathtub and dismembered it.
The police chief said Sacco, who once took classes at a local college, had been in Urbana about a year after she moved there from California. He said Puccio had only been in Urbana a few months. Both were unemployed.
Champaign County coroner Joshua Richards said an autopsy showed Sacco suffocated. He said a single stab wound to her upper abdomen didn't penetrate any vital organs.
"That's not what killed her," he said. "She was probably suffocated."
Richards said a toxicology report would not be available for several weeks.
Andrew Forney was charged with corpse abuse, obstructing justice, tampering with evidence and complicity to tamper with evidence; Kandis Forney was charged with complicity to tamper with evidence and obstructing justice.
Urbana is about 40 miles northwest of Columbus.
Associated Press reporter Lisa Cornwell in Cincinnati contributed to this report.