A Pennsylvania man allegedly murdered his teenage girlfriend—breaking her neck, hitting her with a hatchet and gouging her eyes—after she turned down his marriage proposal, according to police.
Christopher Ryan Tucker, 34, of Albany Township in Berks County, Pennsylvania, was arrested on November 1 in Illinois, where he had fled days after the incident and had attempted to steal a farmer’s combine after his car broke down, CBS Philly reported.
He reportedly told police about the crime in Albany. Philadelphia state troopers were then dispatched to Tucker’s home, where they found the body of victim Tara Serino, 19.
Tucker told detectives that he had strangled Serino until he thought she was dead, before snapping her neck, poking her eyes out and hitting her with a hatchet until he was sure she was dead.
In regard to a motive, he told investigators that he had attacked Serino after she declined his marriage proposal a few days earlier. According to Tucker, Serino told him she was sleeping with other men and made a comment to the effect that he should just kill her, Pennsylvania newspaper The Morning Call reported.
Tucker was being held in Champaign County jail ahead of extradition to Pennsylvania, where he faces charges including criminal homicide and first-degree murder.
According to a criminal complaint cited by The Morning Call, Tucker met with Serino in the early hours of October 30. Serino’s father, Fred Serino, called police at around 9:30 p.m. on October 31 after Tara had not called to let him know she was safe. When police went to Tucker’s property, they couldn’t make contact with anyone inside.
Tucker’s father, John Tucker, then went to Fred Serino’s house on November 1 to tell him that he had been contacted by a hospital in Illinois, where Tucker had been taken in for an evaluation. Fred Serino reported his daughter missing later that day with Upper Macungie police, who classified her as endangered.
Upper Macungie police spoke with their counterparts in Illinois and asked them to interview Tucker to find out where Serino was. After his confession, Upper Macungie police asked Philadelphia state troopers to search Tucker’s home, which is when Serino’s body was found.