Brother of Airman Facing Murder Charge Arrested in Arizona

Mark Gooch
A photo provided by the Maricopa County Sheriff's Office shows Mark Gooch. Gooch, an Air Force airman, was arrested Tuesday, April 21, 2020, in the death of a Mennonite woman whose body was found off a forest road in northern Arizona two months ago, authorities said. (Maricopa County Sheriff's Office via AP)

FLAGSTAFF, Ariz. — The brother of a man charged in the death of a Sunday school teacher has been arrested after he flew to Arizona to pick up what he thought was a rifle used in the killing, authorities said Monday.

Samuel Gooch was taken into custody Sunday in the Phoenix area and booked into jail on suspicion of hindering prosecution and attempting to tamper with evidence.

Gooch’s brother, Mark Gooch, has been charged with theft, kidnapping and murder in the death of Sasha Krause. The 27-year-old woman originally from Texas had been living among other members of the Mennonite community in Farmington, New Mexico, before she disappeared Jan. 18. She worked in literature ministry but also filled in as a Sunday school teacher.

Her body was found Feb. 24 along a forest road just outside Flagstaff, Arizona.

RelatedHearing Set for Airman Charged in Sunday School Teacher’s Death

Mark Gooch, 21, who had been an airman stationed at Luke Air Force Base in metropolitan Phoenix, was arrested April 21. His attorney has said Gooch doesn’t have a criminal history and is entitled to the presumption of innocence.

Samuel Gooch made arrangements over the phone to fly from Wisconsin to Arizona get the gun he believed was used in the killing, the Coconino County Sheriff's Office said.

“Through the investigation, we believed it was his intention to come and get possession of that weapon and possibly destroy it,” said sheriff's spokesman Jon Paxton.

Authorities had collected the rifle from the home of one of Mark Gooch's friends and placed a nearly identical weapon at the home and waited for Samuel Gooch to pick it up before arresting him, Paxton said.

It was unclear if Samuel Gooch had an attorney who could speak on his behalf. Messages left with courts in Flagstaff and Maricopa County after the close of business Monday were not returned.

Authorities don't believe a family member traveling with Samuel Gooch knew about the plan.

The Air Force Office of Special Investigations and the Office of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms aided in the arrest of Samuel Gooch.

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