Charges: Arkansas man killed Edina woman, burned her body in New Orleans

The Arkansas man is a native of Delano, Minnesota.
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Joseph S. Porter

An Arkansas man has been charged in the murder of an Edina woman.

A criminal complaint states that 26-year-old Joseph S. Porter, whose current address is in Delano, Minnesota, choked Cristina Prodan to death, stuffed her body in a suitcase, and then burned her in a junkyard in Louisiana. 

Prodan is said to have met Porter online, with Porter moving to Edina from Arkansas and to live with her in the fall of 2017. 

Between October and December last year, police received calls to the home on reports of verbal disputes, allegations of domestic assault, and interference with a 911 call. 

Porter was issued no-contact order against Prodan, which he violated in December 2017. 

On Jan. 5, 2018, Prodan's mother asked police to make a welfare check at the home, but no-one was there, and they were unable to reach the victim or Porter by phone. 

An investigation found that Porter had driven from Minnesota to Louisiana, and along the way was stopped by a state trooper in Missouri who was unaware police were looking for him.

In the backseat of Porter's car was large suitcases, a pickaxe and shovel, which he said he needed for work, with Porter later admitting he had choked Prodan to death, put her body inside a suitcase and was taking her to New Orleans. 

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While driving south, Porter was pulled over a second time in Arkansas but again allowed to resume traveling. Three days later, on Jan. 8, an Arkansas police officer found Porter sleeping in a different car, which turned out to be stolen.

The officer noted that Porter had burns to his face, which he blamed on car trouble. Again, the officer was not aware of an investigation into Porter, so he was allowed to go. 

The next day, a ping to Prodan's cell phone popped up at a Walmart in Arkansas. Surveillance footage showed that the ping came from Porter, who was at the store with his estranged husband. 

Porter was later arrested at his husband's home. 

Prodan's body was found by the New Orleans Fire Department after responding to a fire in a shipping container at a junkyard, with Porter's 1995 Honda Accord located a short distance from the scene. 

Porter admitted to killing Prodan, saying he burned himself when he tried to dispose of her body. 

Porter is in federal custody and facing 2nd degree murder charges in Hennepin County. 

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