Real Names: Grant Hendrickson and Michele Cartagena
Nicknames: No known nicknames
Location: January 3, 1995
Date: Macon, Georgia
Details: On January 3, 1995, the bodies of Mercer University students Grant Hendrickson, twenty-two, and Michele Cartagena, nineteen, were found in her white Honda Accord. They had been brutally shot to death with a Colt AR-15 automatic rifle the night before. Grant had also been shot twice in the head with a nine millimeter Ruger pistol. Michele's body had been pulled from the car and dragged twenty feet. Police and the victims' families could not understand why they had been killed. The couple had been dating for several months and did well in school. According to friends, they had talked about getting married.
Investigators tried to piece together what happened to the couple, starting with the night of January 2, when they left to get dinner and a movie. As they drove to the movie theater, they were seen by a railroad worker named John Ambrose. Michele's car was in the right lane, while John was right next to them. Suddenly, a blue Honda CRX swerved in front of them. The CRX started slowing up in front of Michele's car. As a result, she had to slow up. When John exited the interstate, he lost sight of the other two cars.
The couple later went to the movies. Afterwards, they drove to a scenic overlook at nearby Lake Juliet. Coincidentally, John Ambrose was driving near the lake when he again noticed the couple and the CRX. He first noticed the CRX, sitting by the road with its parking lights on. Just down the road, he noticed Michele's car heading towards the parking lot at the scenic overlook.
Two other eyewitnesses, teenagers parked at the lake, spotted the CRX pulling into the parking lot at around 12:30AM. Just seconds later, they heard the sounds of gunshots nearby. Shortly after that, they saw the CRX drive away from the parking lot. When the couple went to investigate, they found Michele and Grant dead.
At first, the evidence appeared to point to the CRX being the killer's vehicle. Then, a new witness, Steven Boyd, came forward. He was in the parking lot of the movie theater on the night of January 2. He claimed that he saw a young man arguing with Grant and Michele. The man appeared to be drinking and was with another man. The two men then got into a white pickup truck. Investigators had him look at a photo line-up. He identified an individual who was a friend of Michele's that also had a crush on her. According to one of Michele's friends, the man could become violent if he was drunk.
The man denied any involvement in the case and gave investigators an alibi; however, police have not confirmed it. The man is still considered a person of interest. Despite this, they have not found a connection between the man and the CRX that was seen at the murder scene. The double murder remains unsolved.
Suspects: The Honda CRX's driver is the prime suspect in this case. John Ambrose believed that the driver was a light-skinned black male and that he had a female passenger.
Investigators have also looked into a man that Michele was friends with. The man reportedly had a crush on her. A witness identified him as the man he had seen arguing with Michele on the night of the murder. The man was accompanied by another man in a white pickup truck.
Extra Notes: This case first aired on the September 27, 1996 episode.
Results: Solved. For nearly two years, investigators checked the records of every major pawn shop and gun dealer within 150 miles of Macon. They interviewed every person who had sold or pawned a Colt AR-15. After over 2000 leads, investigators received a break. After following up on pawn shop records, an investigator questioned a twenty-two-year-old man named Andrew Allen Cook on November 27, 1996. Cook acted suspiciously during his interview; he claimed that he had gotten rid of his AR-15 in April of 1994. However, the investigator noted that he had not purchased it until August of that year. Cook became defensive and said that he would not cooperate until he spoke with his father, who was an FBI agent. Investigators decided to look into him more thoroughly.
They discovered that he owned a Honda CRX similar to the one described by eyewitnesses. They also learned that an acquaintance had purchased him a nine millimeter Ruger handgun one year before the murders. He was put under surveillance for a week before he was arrested on December 4 on a hunting violation. After the arrest, his father told investigators that Cook had confessed to the murders; the couple were apparently random targets. Several friends also stated that he had confessed to killing the couple with an AR-15. He allegedly told one friend that he killed them to "see if he could get away with it". Ballistic testing determined that slugs from his rifle matched those found at the crime scene. Further testing determined that his Ruger handgun was also used in the murders. Finally, DNA testing connected tobacco spit on Michele's leg to Cook. In 1997, he was charged with the murders. In March of 1998, he was convicted and sentenced to death. He was executed on February 22, 2013.
- How FBI agent sent his son to death row
- (People Magazine Article) Nothing but the Truth
- Cook v. State
- Man convicted of killing Spencer valedictorian executed Thursday night
- Mother of Andrew Cook Murder Victim Speaks
- Execution of Andrew Cook
- Michele Cartagena at Find a Grave