BECKLEY, WV (WVNS)– Four local cold cases are one step closer to being solved.
In a press conference on Tuesday, October 24, Raleigh County Prosecuting Attorney Ben Hatfield announced the reindictment of Natalie Cochran on a charge of first degree murder in the death of her husband Michael Cochran. Larry Webb was also charged with the first degree murder in the disappearance of Natasha “Alex” Carter.
Also indicted was Daniel Johnson on charge of first degree murder in the death of David Baker, and Terrance Battle on charge of first degree murder in the shooting death of Belinda Flynn.
All cases were called in a special grand jury on October 23, 2023.
Natalie Cochran – Michael Cochran
Natalie Cochran was indicted on a First-Degree Murder charge on November 19, 2021, in the February 2019 death of her husband, Michael.
In a shock move, Hatfield dropped the charge on April 19, 2023, in order to re-exhume Michael’s body for advanced testing by forensic pathologist Dr. Paul Urbie in relation to the case. The results of that testing stated Michael Cochrane died because nonprescribed insulin was introduced to his body. In his findings, Dr. Urbie also concluded Michael’s death was a homicide, Hatfield announced.
Cochran is also currently serving an 11-year federal sentence for operating a multimillion-dollar Ponzi scheme from June 2017 through at least August 2019.
Larry Webb – Natasha “Alex” Carter
Natasha “Alex” Carter and her mother, Susan, were last seen on August 8, 2000. Susan and her ex-husband, Rick Lafferty were in the midst of a heated custody battle over their then 10-year-old daughter, Alex. Lafferty had reportedly met Susan to exchange Alex in Beckley and she had told him he would never see his child again.
Susan was reportedly in a relationship with Larry Webb at the time of her and Alex’s disappearance. The initial report regarding the case stated Susan kidnapped Alex.
In December 2021, the FBI Pittsburgh office announced a renewed push and reward in an effort to find answers in the decades-old case, including offering a reward for information leading to solving the case.
Search warrants were executed at Webb’s Mabscott house by the Federal Bureau of Investigation and local law enforcement multiple times between the summer of 2022 and August 2023.
Webb, who is in his 80’s, had a caretaker, Terry Lilly, residing with him at the time of the searches. Lilly claimed multiple pieces of evidence were removed from the home, including a bullet, flooring tile, and DNA evidence. Officials have not confirmed these claims.
Daniel Johnson – David Baker
According to officials, on October 8, 2016, David Baker, Daniel Johnson, and friends gathered in the parking lot of Wilbrian Apartments near
Baker was found dead on October 10, 2016, two days after an alleged altercation the night of October 8, 2016. An autopsy report states Baker died due to multiple traumas to the head and that the death was a homicide due to assault.
Terrance Battle – Belinda Flynn
Police were called to a shots fired call on the morning of August 20, 2004, on Neely Street in Beckley. When officers arrived on the scene they found the body of Belinda Flynn lying in the street with a gunshot wound in the middle of her forehead.
Flynn was pronounced dead on the scene by medical personnel.
Autopsy results stated Belinda Flynn’s death was a homicide due to the gunshot wound to the head at a close range.
According to investigators, DNA from Terrance Battle was reportedly found at the scene as well as multiple reports of the two seen together before the gunshots.
All four cases were indicted by a special session of the Grand Jury they will now go to trial in Raleigh County Circuit Court.
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