Murder in the Heartland is examining the murder of Sarah Washington, who was shot dead by Rex Frank at her home in Kankakee, Illinois.
On June 26, 2014, Sarah’s mother, Kathy Washington, went to her daughter’s apartment to drive her to work and made the shocking discovery that she had been shot twice in the head. The 25-year-old aspiring model was found lying on the bedroom floor.
The cops later learned that the murderer had been Rex Frank, a violent killer who had been an acquaintance of Washington’s live-in boyfriend. Frank had visited Washington’s boyfriend earlier in the day when he had requested drugs, a gun, and money, but had left empty-handed.
Rex Frank had already admitted guilt in Rian Maiden murder case
The police were able to pinpoint Frank as the killer after he pleaded guilty to another murder. On July 4, 2014, the murderer broke into the home of Rian Maiden in the nearby town of Sun River Terrace, IL. When Maiden interrupted Frank burglarizing his home, he was shot multiple times.
Frank had forced Maiden to give him his PIN number and ATM card before he shot him four times, twice in the head.
Frank pleaded guilty to the Maiden murder and was sentenced to 45 years in prison. However, he denied killing Washington.
The killer was put on trial for Washington’s murder, and a lot of the prosecution’s case relied on the shell casings that were found lying beside Washington’s remains; they matched the casings found beside Maiden.
In 2019, a jury found Frank guilty of killing Sarah Washington, and he received an automatic life sentence.
At the sentencing, Judge Clark Erickson said: “You’re a cold-blooded killer. I sentence you to natural life in prison. You will have no chance for parole, and you will die in prison. You deserve it.”
More from Murder in the Heartland
Follow the links to read about more murders profiled in America’s heartland.
Douglas Anderson had swindled 78-year-old cowboy Darole Carpenter out of thousands of dollars on a dodgy cattle investment. When Carpenter realized what had happened, Anderson decided to turn to murder to keep his crimes hidden.
In 2016, Tromain Mackall left a party that straddled the borders of Ohio and Daviess Counties in Kentucky and was never seen alive again. The cops concluded that he had been kidnapped and strangled by William Howard, who was aided and abetted by Melanie Howard and Christopher Hill.
Murder in the Heartland airs at 9/8c on Investigation Discovery.