Cristina Prodan (27) was brutally murdered by her boyfriend Joseph Porter (25) on January 4th, 2018. Joseph reportedly confessed to punching Cristina repeatedly in the face following an argument. Afterwards, he put her into a chokehold until she lost consciousness and then placed her body into a suitcase before fleeing to New Orleans to dispose of her body.
The savage attack took place inside Cristina’s home in Edina, Minnesota, where Joseph had been living with Cristina. The two met on Facebook during the previous year, but Joseph was technically not a single man when he met Cristina. In fact, Joseph was married to a man whom he shared a home with in Little Rock, Arkansas. It is believed that the two men had an open relationship or were separated at the time Joseph met Cristina. Once Joseph moved into Cristina’s home, he reportedly began to show a violent side. According to Cristina’s mother, Joseph raped Cristina and beat her service dog. He also was accused of killing a puppy in Arkansas. In December 2017, Cristina took out an order of protection against Joseph. He was arrested for violating it right after it was put in place. Despite all of this, Cristina ultimately decided to let Joseph back in to her home.
Cristina’s family members were aware of Joseph’s violent tendencies, so they were inevitably worried when they learned that Cristina had taken him back. During the early morning hours of January 5th, 2018, Cristina’s mother grew so worried that she called the police and asked them to do a welfare check at Cristina’s home. When the police arrived, they found the place disheveled, and Cristina and Joseph were nowhere to be found. Police entered Joseph’s car into a database and discovered that he was stopped by a state trooper in Missouri on the evening of January 4th. The trooper noted that Joseph was alone, and he had a large suitcase in the back of his car, along with a pick axe and a shovel. Joseph told the trooper that the tools were for his job. About five hours later, he was pulled over in Arkansas, still in possession of the suitcase and tools. At this point, Joseph’s welfare had been accounted for, but Cristina still remained missing.
A few days later, Joseph had yet another run-in with law enforcement. This time, an Arkansas Officer spotted Joseph sleeping in a car with burns all over his face. It was noted that this car was different than the car he had previously been driving. The police would later learn that the vehicle had been stolen. When this particular officer asked Joseph why he was sleeping in the car, he told him that he was having car troubles and was getting some rest before attempting to fix it again. The next day, officers investigating Cristina’s disappearance noticed that Cristina’s phone had been turned on in Cabot, Arkansas—the same area where the officer had spotted Joseph sleeping in the car. Investigators learned that Cristina’s phone had been pawned at the Wal-Mart in Cabot. Surveillance footage revealed that Joseph and his husband were at Wal-Mart around the same time.
Joseph was ultimately charged with kidnapping and second degree murder. On January 12th, 2019, he pleaded guilty to second-degree unintentional murder. Judge Holton Dimick sentenced Joseph to 20 years in prison. The recommended sentence was 15 to 18 years, however after Joseph admitted that he did not call the police after accidentally killing Cristina, the judge gave him a longer sentence. At the sentencing, the judge told Joseph, “When I read the criminal complaint, I thought I was watching a television movie of atrocious actions of a horrible person. I couldn’t believe how you treated this young lady.”