An ex-Marine has been arrested and charged in the brutal murder of a 21-year-old mother whose body was found in a wooded area on New York’s Long Island, police say.
Dante Taylor, 19, pleaded not guilty through his attorney Saturday to second-degree murder in the killing of Sarah Goode. Prosecutors say they will seek to upgrade the charge.
Authorities arrested Taylor in Vero Beach, Florida, Thursday on an unrelated warrant for attempted rape, and transported him to New York, WABC reported.
Goode was reported missing by her family after failing to return from a friend’s house near her home on June 7. Authorities found her abandoned BMW about a mile from her home two days later, and reported a significant amount of blood and other signs of a struggle.
The search ended tragically when a private search party made up of mostly family members found her body June 12. An autopsy report found Goode suffered “multiple sharp, force injuries about her head and torso,” Newsday reported.
Her body was found naked from the waist down, and Suffolk County Assistant District Attorney Janet Albertson said Goode was “clearly the victim of sexual assault,” the newspaper reported.
Taylor and Goode reportedly exchanged phone calls on the night she vanished. Authorities said a bloody palm print recovered at the scene belongs to Taylor. Authorities linked him to the killing using GPS tracking and through physical evidence, Albertson told the newspaper.
Police reportedly also recovered bloodstained clothing belonging to Taylor, Newsday reported.
Kristen Berkowitz, a friend of Goode’s who told the newspaper she previously had a romantic relationship with Taylor described him as a “violent person.”
“He just wasn’t normal. We were scared of what he might do because of his temper,” Berkowitz told the newspaper.
Taylor was discharged from the Marines less than a year after entering active service, a spokesman told Newsday. The spokesman did not disclose the reason for his discharge.