Update: A US Air Force airman has been found guilty of kidnapping and murdering a Mennonite woman from a remote community in New Mexico. Mark Gooch, 22, was convicted by a jury in Arizona, where the body of 27-year-old Sasha Krause was found in a forest more than a month after she disappeared in January 2020, the AP reports. Her wrists were bound with duct tape, and she had been shot in the head. Prosecutor Ammon Barker said Gooch, who grew up in a large Mennonite family in Wisconsin but rejected the faith, was driven by a hatred for Mennonites. Gooch will face a maximum penalty of life in prison when he is sentenced next month. Our original story from April 24, 2020, follows:
A US Air Force member has been charged with the murder of a Mennonite woman who disappeared from her New Mexico community in January, a month before her body was found in Arizona. Airman Mark Gooch, 21, was arrested at the Luke Air Force Base in Glendale, Arizona, on Tuesday and charged with the murder of Sasha Krause, in addition to kidnapping and theft. "I can assure you, we have our man," said Shane Ferrari of New Mexico's San Juan County Sheriff's Office, per NBC News. He suggested authorities would pursue the death penalty. Arizona's Coconino County Sheriff's Office said Gooch had traveled from the air base to Farmington, New Mexico, where Krause lived in a remote community based around a bookstore and church.
It was at the church, where 27-year-old Krause taught Sunday school, that her vehicle was found abandoned on Jan. 19. But court documents suggest Krause, last seen leaving her home on the evening of Jan. 18, wasn't killed until sometime around Feb. 21, the day her body was found near Flagstaff, Ariz., reports 12News. Gooch, whom police place near the scene, is believed to have used a firearm in the killing, according to documents, which describe Krause as suffering head injuries. CrimeOnline reports she was wearing the same clothing as on the day she disappeared. Gooch is also accused of stealing Krause's head covering and underwear, according to documents. He's due in court Friday. (More on the case here.)