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Oklahoma Man In Custody In Connection With 2017 Murder Of Pregnant Nurse Who Went Missing During Lunch Break

oklahoma suspect
Source: Pittsburgh County Sheriff’s Office; UNSPLASH

Dec. 12 2023, Published 4:28 p.m. ET

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An Oklahoma man remains in custody over one year after he was arrested in connection with the cold case murder of a nurse who went missing while on her lunch break five years ago.

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The Pittsburgh County Sheriff’s Office arrested Cody Ketchum, 36, on Oct. 17, 2022, and charged him with the first-degree murder of Holly Cantrell.

“We got him in handcuffs, I told him, Cody Ketchum you're under arrest for the murder of Holly Cantrell, he took a sigh of breath and dropped his head, and that was it, he didn't say a word,” Pittsburgh County Sheriff Chris Morris said, according to KWTV-DT.

On Jan. 20, 2017, Cantrell, a 40-year-old mother of three, left her job at the hospital in McAlester to get lunch but she never returned. Her purse turned up the following month but her remains weren’t located until a year after she vanished.

In 2020, investigators positively identified the remains as belonging to Cantrell.

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According to the sheriff’s office, Ketchum was the last person to be seen with the victim and he was always considered a suspect but there wasn’t enough proof to indict him until cell phone evidence was recently presented to a grand jury.

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Multiple outlets reported Ketchum and Cantrell were having an affair and she was pregnant at the time she went missing.

“Just imagine if it feels that good for law enforcement, what a feeling it gives to the family, it don't bring their family member back, but when I spoke to them yesterday, they were in tears an arrest had been made,” Morris said of Ketchum’s arrest.

In addition to the murder count, Ketchum also faces a charge of destroying evidence.

Ketchum was set to go to trial, but his defense team recently filed a motion to continue after they received from prosecutors new discovery that included new photos, phone records, 4,000 pages of documents and nearly 1,000 spreadsheets, the McAlester News-Capital reported.

“The state has made clear that these phone records are a crucial element of their case against Cody Ketchum,” attorney Brecken Wagner wrote of the defense's need for more time to prepare for trial.

Ketchum is currently in the Pittsburg County Jail on a $250,000 bond.


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