An Arizona man who killed a school teacher was sentenced Wednesday for kidnapping and murder.
Mark Gooch will spend life in prison for the murder of Sasha Krause, 27, a Mennonite teacher who was found deceased in 2020. Gooch also received an additional five years behind bars for kidnapping, which will run consecutively with the murder conviction.
“It just makes no sense why one human being would do this to another human being,” Coconino County Superior Court Judge Cathleen Nichols, who presided over the case, said during sentencing, NBC 12 reports.
As CrimeOnline previously reported, police found Krause’s body on February 21, 2020, more than a month after she was last seen in Farmingdale, New Mexico, on January 18, 2020. Her body was found near a camper close to the Sunset Crater National Monument.
On the day she disappeared, Krause was picking up items at the Farmington Mennonite Church, where she was a member and a Sunday school teacher. Authorities located her car in the church parking lot after she disappeared.
“She drove the few hundred yards from her home to the church building to pick up the Sunday school books and about 1:30 the next morning one of her co-workers here realized that Sasha had not returned,” Samuel Coon, a co-worker, said, according to KRQE.
Authorities eventually recovered Krause’s body nearly 270 miles away, close to the Sunset Crater Volcano and Wupatki national monuments in Flagstaff.
Investigators treated Krause’s disappearance as suspicious early on. She had been part of a tight community and had no known personal or financial issues. She also vanished without her wallet and identification.
Gooch, who was an airman with the U.S. Air Force, was subsequently arrested and charged with Krause’s murder.
During a press release in 2020, police announced that “Gooch had traveled from Luke Air Force Base, where he lives, to Farmington.” Additional evidence was found by investigators, placing Gooch in the Sunset Crater area in Coconino County.
A firearm was used in the killing, police said, and the victim had head injuries. She had on the same clothing she wore on the day she vanished.
It’s unclear if Gooch had any previous connection to Krause, but KRQE reports that a Facebook group posted that Gooch had relatives who were members of the Nationwide Mennonite Fellowship. It was also learned from text messages between Gooch and his brother that Gooch had grown up in the Mennonite community, but resented and rejected it.
Krause was a teacher for six years in Grandview, Texas. She later moved to Farmington and worked in publishing while teaching Sunday school.
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[Feature Photo: Mark Gooch and Sasha Krause/Police Handout]