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Crime News Domestic Violence

Man Accused Of Murdering Mother And Daughter Kills Himself Following Police Chase

Jonathan Crago, 38, shot Deborah Hudak, 55, and Cathryn Hudak, 25, at their home in Lowellville, Ohio, authorities said. He then committed suicide following a police chase.

By Caitlin Schunn
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A man suspected of murdering an Ohio mother and daughter killed himself, police said, after leading officers on a chase.

Last Wednesday, 38-year-old Jonathan Crago shot 55-year-old Deborah Hudak and 25-year-old Cathryn Hudak in a home in Lowellville, police said, according to CBS Youngstown affiliate WKBN.

The Mahoning County Sheriff’s office said Crago had a relationship with at least one of the victims, and described the violence as a domestic dispute, according to NBC affiliate WFMJ.

“Obviously, by using cell phone records, we were able to pin where he was and where he was going, and we were able to secure a warrant,” Mahoning County Sheriff Jerry Greene told WKBN.

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Officers in the Cleveland suburb of Parma tried stopping Crago after receiving a description of his vehicle, WKBN reported. Police said Crago wouldn’t stop, leading officers on a chase that ended after he drove over spike strips and hit a Brooklyn Heights police cruiser. During this time, Crago called Cleveland police to say he intended to “commit suicide by cop,” causing a shelter-in-place order for residents in the area. Parma police say Crago ended up shooting and killing himself before police reached him, and officers found a .380 caliber handgun in the vehicle.

Social media photos of Deborah and Cathryn Hudak

Brittany Hudak told WKBN her sister was being harassed by an ex-boyfriend before the shooting.

“The threats that I saw come in. ‘If you don’t do this you’ll see what happens. If you don’t do this, you’ll see the results.’ Nothing you could say is a direct threat as to, ‘I’m going to take your life,’ however, anybody can read that and interpret something bad might happen,” Brittany said to the outlet.

Brittany Hudak wants to see stricter punishments for people who commit domestic violence.

“She knew to call the police, she knew to report it,” Brittany said to WKBN. “The problem comes when those individuals set the guidelines for how this crime can be punished. How do we punish menacing? How do we punish stalking? How do we punish domestic violence? You put somebody on probation — they’re out. They can still contact this person.”

On Sunday night, the community honored and remembered the mother and daughter with a candlelight vigil, with about 200 people paying their respects, WKBN reported.

“You know the saying ‘Give you the shirt off their back?’ They would give you the shirt and then look for a pair of pants,” Brittany Hudak told WKBN.

During the vigil, Roy Pratt, Deborah’s brother and Cathryn’s uncle, said the victims worked with animals who needed a home, saying the women had a "passion for taking in the strays, the old dogs, the sick dogs, the injured cats," and that they "would get them all taken care of with the vets," according to WKBN.

"Debbie loved working with people with developmental disabilities, she did that through most of her adult life," Pratt said at the vigil, per the outlet.

A friend of the family has started a GoFundMe in order to raise money to pay for memorial expenses.

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