Although Dudley initially told police he hadn't spoken to Cantrell in a long time, GPS records showed both of their phones were at his house.
Trigger warning: This article contains themes of domestic violence that some readers may find distressing
In 2020, a Washington man killed his pregnant ex-girlfriend and dumped her body in a ravine. He pled guilty to the crime on Monday. On August 25, 2020, the day before she was scheduled to have her first ultrasound, the new mom was eager to become a mother and was preparing for the baby's arrival. On September 22, 2020, Tacoma resident Colin Patrick Dudley, 40, was detained and accused of killing Kassandra Cantrell, 33, the previous month. According to online court documents, via PEOPLE, Dudley entered a plea of guilty to first-degree murder on Monday and waived his right to a trial.
Breaking News: Pierce County Sheriff Deputies tell me they’ve arrested Kassandra Cantrell’s ex-boyfriend for murder at his home and they have found her body in University Place @komonews #KOMONews pic.twitter.com/dnE6S3ANjX— Tammy Mutasa (@TammyKOMO) September 23, 2020
According to The News Tribune and KIRO7, he was given a 320-month prison term for the murder or just over 26 years. Cantrell performed in a local production of The Rocky Horror Picture Show when she was 18 and he was 22 at the time. Dudley has been the focus of the Pierce County Sheriff's Office's investigation. Cantrell split up with him soon after, but they got back together when her father passed away in 2014, according to a prior statement from her mother, Marie Smith. According to a search warrant obtained by PEOPLE, authorities located Cantrell's body wrapped in trash bags in a gully in a nearby town about a month after he disappeared using GPS data from Dudley's truck. She had been stabbed, and an autopsy revealed that she had suffered skull fractures, authorities said.
The following day, Dudley was taken into custody and charged with first-degree murder. Although Dudley initially told police he hadn't spoken to Cantrell in a long time, GPS records showed that on August 25, 2020, both of their phones were at his house, the authorities reported. Dudley's family objected to the plea agreement he reached with the prosecution. They informed the judge that they preferred a criminal trial over a plea agreement, reported KIRO7. Smith told KIRO7 that she believed Dudley was "choosing his punishment" by entering into a plea deal with the prosecutors. She added that her daughter would have preferred to go on trial. "People say that when it gets to this point, you feel closure," Smith told KIRO7 after court. "I don't. Closure would have been her coming home. That's never going to happen."
The arrest follows this afternoon's discovery of remains believed to be Kassanndra Cantrell, which were found by our detectives utilizing data obtained from the suspect's truck. Detectives located the remains over a steep hillside along Chambers Creek Road in University Place. pic.twitter.com/oQOs0XnRSN— Pierce Co Sheriff (@PierceSheriff) September 23, 2020
Dudley is also accused of saying something that upset Cantrell's family, according to the search warrant, "that if any girlfriend of his got pregnant and wouldn't get an abortion, he would sue to get full custody just to spite the mother for having the child." Smith hoped her daughter would be discovered alive. Deep down, she said, "I knew something was very wrong." Smith added, "She would have been such a good mom."
"She had all these plans laid out," said Smith. "She was going to have all the Mister Rogers stuff and all of the original Sesame Street and all of the old Disney because she wanted this sort of gentle, magical life for the baby.
If you are experiencing domestic violence, call the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1-800-799-7233, or go to thehotline.org. All calls are toll-free and confidential. The hotline is available 24/7 in more than 170 languages.
Cover Image Source: Youtube | Inside Edition