Murders A-Z is a collection of true crime stories that take an in-depth look at both little-known and famous murders throughout history.
Jessica Rae Sacco, the subject of a recent Martinis & Murder podcast, went missing March 2012, just months before her 22nd birthday. Her mother, Sue Taynor, had a really bad feeling when she couldn’t reach her daughter.
“I just kept thinking, she’s not answering her phone. Where is she? We started searching for her. We started going on her Facebook and asking friends,” Taynor told Oxygen’s “#KillerPost.”
She went over to her daughter’s apartment again to try to find Jessica. Previously, she went to the home only to be turned away by Jessica’s boyfriend, who told Sue that Jessica was at a friend’s house. This time, no one was home. Worried, Jessica's mother let herself in with a spare key and she was shocked at the state of the home.
“It was really, really awful. I wouldn’t let a rat live in there. Maggots and flies all over.”
The bathroom door of the apartment was locked. Sue noticed a strong, pungent odor. She called the landlord, asking him to open the door. A few hours later, he stopped by and found Jessica’s partially dismembered body in the bathtub. It had been eight days since she had been murdered.
Just one year earlier, Jessica returned to Ohio after her relationship with a guy in Florida turned sour.
“She seemed to really be struggling and not knowing what to do next, so I told her come back to Ohio. We’ll help you out,” Sue recalled in her interview with “#KillerPost.” Their relationship had been rocky in the past. Jessica struggled with depression and bipolar disorder. At the time she was on medication, which seemed to be helping. Sue offered to help Jessica pay for her own apartment, so she could get back on her feet.
“We were just kind of doing well, building back the relationship that was kind of torn apart for all those years,” her mother recalled.
Once settled into her new place, Jessica began searching for friends and love online.
“That was her world,” her mom said. “That’s where she felt most comfortable. Being online, she could be anyone she wanted. She could meet people.”
Jessica joined some dating sites but nothing panned out. Instead, she connected with a man named Matthew Puccio, a 25-year-old ex-Marine in Texas, through Facebook. They both just ended bad relationships and they were both part of the Juggalo subculture. After a few months of talking daily, Matthew visited Jessica in Ohio. They hit it off and not long after, he moved in.
Jessica’s mother noticed that Jessica had become more withdrawn, and moody, through her Facebook posts.
“She started posting things online. Awful things,” Sue told “#KillerPost.”
Sue began worrying that her daughter had stopped taking her medication. When she went over to see her daughter, she found out that Matthew had persuaded her to stop taking her prescription drugs.
“Really the only thing I could do, she’s an adult so I just kinda said ‘is this what you want?’ and she said ‘Yes.’ I said ‘OK.’ And I walked,” Sue reflected.
Not long after that interaction, Matthew invited two of his friends to come live in the apartment with him and Jessica, Andrew Forney and his wife Kandis. They didn’t work, and they were essentially squatting in Jessica’s home, something she wasn’t particularly pleased about.
“Ultimately she agreed to it because she knew he was right – Juggalos look out for each other,” Tom Morris, crime reporter, told “#KillerPost.”
Jessica let her new live-in boyfriend’s friends stay, but it put a rift in their relationship. According to the show, his friends weren’t a fan of Jessica either. They would often text their animosity towards her to Matthew, all while the four were in the same room with one another. Then, more friends moved in. Matthew invited his buddies Sharon Cook and Chris Wright over to also live in Jessica’s apartment. Jessica started feeling unwelcome in her own home. She asked her mother if she could stay with her.
“‘I said “You know what? I can’t.’ I just couldn’t take any more chaos. We had been through too much in the last month with her and Matthew. I just kinda needed a break,” Sue said. “That’s always the part that’s hardest to live with, you know hindsight you wish you hadn’t of done that because you feel like you should have done something else.”
Not long after that, Jessica stopped responding to her mother’s text messages. She also stopped posting on Facebook.
[Butler County Sheriff's Department]
From left to right: Andrew Forney, Sharon Cook, Matthew Puccio, Christopher Wright and Kandis Forney.
Police later found out that Matthew stabbed Jessica in the abdomen. He then texted his friends from within the house to let them know that she was stabbed. They were all in the living room. Hours later, Matthew suffocated her with a plastic bag, according to Dayton Daily News. Then his four friends helped him dismember parts of Jessica’s body with a sword and knives. At one point, the five defendants took a break from the dismemberment to eat at McDonald’s. Jessica’s limbs were later dumped in southern Ohio and northern Kentucky.
During the investigation, Matthew told at least five versions of what happened to his girlfriend before he finally admitted the truth. He later pleaded guilty to stabbing, suffocating and dismembering Jessica. He has been sentenced to life in prison, as reported by Fox News. Andrew Forney was sentenced to 10 years for his role. His wife Kandis Forney was sentenced to six years. Sharon Cook was sentenced to three years and Chris Wright was given four.
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