RENTON, Wash. – Police say a woman missing for more than a year was murdered by a man she met on the Internet. That man is now in custody and police were searching Thursday near a middle school for the body.
Kathy Chou, 19, was last seen the night of April 18, 2010. She had a learning disability. Friends and family say she was vulnerable and naïve.
"She trusted everybody. She was friendly, sweet lovable. She was awesome," said family friend Kent Augsburger.
Chou met Ezekiel James Watkins, 22, on a social networking site, sources say. The two started dating, but Watkins allegedly became very controlling. Still, nobody expected he would hurt Chou.
"Everybody trusted him. He was a really good friend to everyone," said friend Deseree Moore.
Watkins stabbed Chou in the throat during a fight, according to court documents. He allegedly was mad that she had been causing problems with Watkins' new girlfriend.
Watkins and a friend buried the body behind Meeker Middle School in Renton, police said. That's the same area where investigators traced Chou's cell phone several months ago, but couldn't find any evidence.
Police were eventually led to Watkins by his alleged accomplice's roommate. The roommate, who police say suspected Watkins had something to do with Chou's disappearance for more than a year, finally came forward because he thought Watkins had stolen something from him.
Police say Watkins led them to a field behind the school and told them where he buried Chou's body.
Watkins is being held on $1 million bail. The accomplice may also face murder charges.