People Magazine Investigates is examining the horrific murder of Sunday school teacher Sasha Krause, who was executed by Air Force mechanic Mark Gooch.
Krause was a member of the Farmington Mennonite Church in New Mexico, and on January 18, 2020, the 27-year-old went out to gather materials for Sunday school and was never seen alive again. Her body was found a month later outside Flagstaff, Arizona.
Her body was found in a remote area near the Sunset Crater National Monument, and cops were shocked to discover her hands had been bound with duct tape and she’d been shot in the back of the head execution-style.
The killer was Mark Gooch, an Air Force mechanic who was based at Luke Air Force Base near Phoenix, AZ. The cops were able to work out through cell phone data, financial records, and surveillance footage that he had traveled to the Farmington church on the date Krause disappeared.
Gooch had grown up in Wisconsin in a Mennonite family but had rejected his family’s faith and joined the Air Force. He admitted that he had traveled to New Mexico in search of fellow Mennonites but denied killing Krause.
The killer had tried to cover up his crime by ditching his car and deleting his cellphone history, and he had a friend look after the murder weapon.
Mark Gooch’s motive for killing Sasha Krause is still unknown
The cops never did fully ascertain a motive, but they did uncover text messages by Gooch to his brother where he disparaged the Mennonite faith. Gooch did not know his victim and the only thing they had in common was they’d been brought up in the Mennonite faith.
Gooch was found guilty of kidnapping and first-degree murder and was sentenced to life in prison.
At sentencing, the judge said, “This case, I thought long and hard about it, and I think this case is truly the most senseless case I have ever presided over.”
More from People Magazine Investigates
Follow the links to read about more murders profiled on People Magazine Investigates.
In 1991, drug dealer Robert Atkins murdered mother-of-one Joy Hibbs in her Croydon, PA, home and then set fire to the house. He got away with the crime for decades until his ex-wife told the cops that he had confessed to the murder.
Kevin Collins was just ten years old in 1984 when he vanished off a San Francisco street. Despite intense efforts to find the boy, the case remains an unsolved mystery.
People Magazine Investigates airs Monday at 9/8c on Investigation Discovery.