Man reported his wife missing, but son told school official that he had witnessed the murder

Rebecca Hoover, 38, and Judson Hoover, 50, of New Albany, Indiana. [Image credit: New Albany Police]

The last time 38-year-old Rebecca Hoover was seen was on August 2.


The following day, 50-year-old Judson Hoover filed a petition for divorce.


Two days later her mother reported her missing.  That same day, police showed up at the Hoover residence and conducted an initial search in an effort to locate the missing woman.


On August 21, Rebecca missed an initial court hearing for the divorce proceedings.  As a result, the court granted custody of the children and custody of the home to Judson.  This was in accordance to a provisional order that he had filed the day of the divorce petition according to News and Tribune.


On August 27 a break in the case came when the couple's 8-year-old son told a school official that he had seen his father kill his mother in the basement of the family home. School officials contacted the police, and the police conducted an interview with the child.


According to the probable cause affidavit, the boy told officers that he had seen "his father stomp his mother in the head 20 times, wearing black boots" before then punching her "in the stomach with a set of keys in his hands, but she was unresponsive and did not move." The child also disclosed noticing that there had been blood coming from his mother's head and left ear.


That same day, officers contacted Judson when he arrived at the school to pick up his children.  He is alleged to have then given police verbal authorization to search his home, outbuildings and vehicles, but it was not until they arrived at his residence later that day that they received a signed consent to search form after Judson had spoken with his attorney.


During that search, police stated that they discovered what appeared to be blood splatter at the bottom of the basement steps, consistent with the child's testimony.


The Courier Journal indicates that the following day a first storage unit was searched.  A cadaver dog indicated inside the unit, but no remains were found.  A review of security footage from the first storage unit showed Judson removing a 55-gallon drum evidently earlier in the day.


That same day, investigators sought a search warrant for a second storage unit located in Louisville, Kentucky.


Inside the second storage unit, searched on August 31, police located the remains of Rebecca.


Judson was arrested shortly thereafter and booked into the Floyd County Jail.


On Thursday, September 3, a formal charge of first degree murder was filed against Judson, and he made his first appearance in court entering a guilty plea.  He could face a sentence of between 45 and 65 years and is scheduled to be sentenced on October 2 by Judge Susan Orth.


An autopsy has revealed that Rebecca died of blunt force trauma to the head and torso though during his initial appearance, Judson is said to have indicated that he believed she had died from strangulation.


Additionally, when information was released during that hearing indicating that Rebecca's remains had been mutilated, News and Tribune indicates that Judson claimed to not recall doing so.


Chris Karraker, a friend that reported to know Rebecca for nearly 30 years took to social media to express his disgust with Judson telling him in part that "You have to live with the fact that you proved to your children that monsters are real and the scariest part is that they can be people you love."


This was not the first incidence of domestic violence in the Hoover home.  In April Judson was charged with felony domestic battery in the presence of a minor and strangulation.  In that incident Judson is accused of knocking Rebecca to the ground before kicking her in the head and neck between 15 and 20 times and using his foot to cut off her air supply.


The same child that spoke up to school officials sought help from a neighbor who called 911.


Judson was arrested on April 17th and released the next day after posting 10% of a $10,000 bond.  His next court date for those charges is scheduled for September 22.