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Preliminary Murder Charges Filed In Connection To Wednesday's Killings

Nikos Frazier

Arrested Wednesday afternoon at a Lafayette apartment complex, 21-year-old Cohen Hancz-Barron is back in Allen County, held without bond in jail on four preliminary charges of murder.

Court documents filed Thursday outline in rough details what happened early Wednesday morning in a home in the 2900 block of Gay Street.


According to the probable cause affidavit, police were called to the home around 10:45 a.m. and found a witness saying “he killed them.” 


Inside the home, they found the bodies of 26-year-old Sarah N. Zent and her three young children, Carter, 5; Ashton, 3; and Aubree, 2. They all died from multiple stab wounds, and their deaths have been declared homicides by the Allen County Coroner’s Office.


Witness statements identify Hancz-Barron as Zent’s boyfriend, and surveillance videos from nearby Whitney Young Early Childhood Center show a truck loaned to Zent leaving the scene. Witnesses said they saw Hancz-Barron leaving in the truck around 6 a.m., according to documents.


Hancz-Barron pleaded guilty to robbery as a level 5 felony last year in Starke County, and was given a six-year suspended sentence to be served on electronic home monitoring.


According to Stark County documents, Hancz-Barron was allowed to serve his sentence at a residential treatment facility called Home With Hope in Tippecanoe County. On April 19, he cut his ankle monitor and escaped.


A warrant in that case was issued for his arrest. Officials with Tippecanoe County Community Corrections issued a statement Thursday expressing sorrow at the killings and assuring cooperation with all law enforcement investigations.


Rebecca manages the news at WBOI. She joined the staff in December 2017, and brought with her nearly two decades of experience in print journalism, including 15 years as an award-winning reporter for the Journal Gazette in Fort Wayne.
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