Police think Ukrainian immigrant Volodymyr Kocherhin may have killed his wife inside a dilapidated truck where the couple was living and then pulled her body outside the vehicle before calling police, according to a search warrant made public Tuesday.
Investigators discovered blood in the rear of a box truck parked close to where Olha Kocherhina’s body was found early on Sept. 16, according to the warrant. Kocherin, 51, called 911 and told a dispatcher that he had found his wife lying on the ground behind Kimbrell’s Furniture Store at 5109 New Bern Ave., according to a recording of the 911 call.
Kocherhina, 44, had been beaten to death, police say. Investigators found a hammer and flashlight inside the truck, but the search warrant did not indicate if they think either item was responsible for her wounds.
Kocherin was charged with first-degree murder. During the 911 call, he told the dispatcher that he’d found his wife “lying in blood” in the grass after she had gone missing the day before.
Police found Kocherhina on her back, but paramedics told police that it appeared she had died inside a 2004 Chevrolet Express box truck parked a few feet away. Raleigh detective G.E. Powell wrote in the search warrant application that the truck had significant front-end damage and no engine, and that officers could see a mattress, bedding and clothing in the truck’s rear and concluded that someone was living in the vehicle.
Detectives later learned that the couple had been evicted from their home on Panhill Way, a little over two miles away off Old Milburnie Road, according to the search warrant.
Powell said police found property that belonged to Volodymyr inside the truck as well as blood. The officers also spoke with a security guard who told them she was familiar with the truck and that she thought someone was living in it.
Among the items police found in the truck were a man’s jacket and shirt, a gray woman’s shirt, a cane, two cellphones, a laptop computer, two Modelo beers bottles and a backpack containing three state identification cards and passports, according to the search warrant.
Investigators arrested Kocherhin the next day. He remains in the Wake County jail without benefit of bail.