A 45-year-old man has been arrested and charged with first-degree murder and other crimes in connection with the kidnapping and killing of a Phoenix man earlier this month, police said Thursday.
John Cole was taken into custody after investigators located his vehicle on the way to California and, after obtaining a search warrant, authorities said they found human remains inside Cole’s vehicle.
Phoenix police said Antoine Smith, 28, was kidnapped from his Phoenix apartment over an unresolved debt sometime between Sept. 16-17.
People who knew Smith attempted to communicate with the suspect to ensure Smith’s safety, police said.
The Arizona Department of Public Safety assisted Phoenix police in finding Cole’s vehicle and took him into custody.
Cole was interviewed by detectives, and he told them he killed Smith in self-defense, according to police.
Cole later led detectives to a rural area, just south of Tucson, where more of Smith’s remains were recovered.
During the investigation, according to police, detectives learned Smith was driven to Tucson, where he was killed.
“Detectives also discovered Cole purchased several items after Smith was killed to assist in the dismemberment and concealment of Smith’s body,” a Phoenix Police Department release stated.
Cole was booked into the Maricopa County Jail for multiple felonies, including first-degree murder.