Sunday, August 18, 2019

The Murder of Vanessa Cocly

23 year-old Vanessa Cocly was tragically murdered by her ex-boyfriend on March 31st, 2018. She left her family’s Orlando, Florida home that evening around 8pm, after telling her parents that she would be back in a few hours. When Vanessa still was not home by the following morning, her parents used her Google Services account to track her phone’s location. The tracker revealed that Vanessa’s phone was at the home of 32 year-old Christian Ruben Valentin Penchi—her ex-boyfriend.

Christian Ruben Valentine Penchi

Vanessa’s parents were actually not worried when they first tracked her phone. Although Vanessa and Christian had broken up, Vanessa’s parents were relieved to see that she was still in the area and that her phone was still active. Her parents began to worry the following day when they noticed that her phone was shut off and she still had not returned home. She also had not shown up for her first day of training for her new job at Disney, nor did she show up for Easter dinner. Vanessa’s mother reported her missing around 5pm on April 2nd. She told investigators that Vanessa’s phone had been tracked to Christian’s home the previous day. However, when investigators went to talk to Christian on April 3rd, he was nowhere to be found. As it turns out, he had boarded a flight to Puerto Rico just hours earlier. There were no records of Vanessa boarding a flight with him, so the possibility of her traveling with him was quickly ruled out.

It was later revealed that Christian had visited a pawn shop just hours before Vanessa was reported missing. While there, Christian sold a .380 caliber handgun. Investigators found it suspicious that Christian had pawned a gun and left the country shortly after the disappearance of his ex-girlfriend. The suspicions continued to build after Vanessa’s car was located at a Panda Express restaurant near Christian’s home on April 4th. Investigators found Vanessa’s backpack with her school books in the back seat of her car, and her credit cards and purse in the trunk.

Meanwhile, Christian’s brother contacted the police that same day to report Christian missing. His brother was worried after having not heard from Christian for days. He told investigators that Christian was depressed about a custody battle with his ex-wife, and he had recently just lost his job. Additionally, Christian’s brother stated that Christian was actively trying to rekindle his relationship with Vanessa, but she was not interested. At this point, it was clear to investigators that Christian had not told anybody about any travel plans to Puerto Rico, and it appeared that he had, in fact, fled the country.

On April 5th, a judge signed a warrant to search Christian’s condo. While there, investigators found Vanessa’s body in the bathroom. She had suffered a gunshot wound to the head. Police captured and arrested Christian in Puerto Rico the following day, where he was arrested and charged with first degree murder. He was eventually extradited back to Florida, where he was held without bail in the Orange County Jail.

In January 2019, Christian pleaded guilty to the second degree murder of Vanessa Cocly. On April 12th, 2019, he was sentenced to life in prison.

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