A gruesome murder in the sleepy town of Truro in Cape Cod, Massachusetts, led the authorities on a multi-year investigation with a long list of suspects. The inquiry into Christa Worthington’s sudden death was not made easy by her complicated personal life. ABC News’ ‘20/20: A Killing on the Cape’ chronicles the circumstances surrounding the murder and what happened in the aftermath. So, if you’re curious about the same, we’ve got you covered.
How Did Christa Worthington Die?
Christa was born to a lawyer; she was the only child and grew up in Hingham, Massachusetts. After schooling, she attended Vassar College in New York and pursued English. Then, the young woman moved to Manhattan, New York, and covered fashion, writing for publications like the New York Times, Elle, Harper’s Bazaar, and many more. By 1997, Christa had moved to Truro for a change, where her family had strong roots.
On January 6, 2002, a former boyfriend, Tim Arnold, came by Christa’s house to return a flashlight. But inside, he could see the 46-year-old lying on the ground with her daughter, Ava, by her side. Tim called 911 right away, and the authorities arrived to find Christa naked from the waist down, lying in a pool of blood. It appeared that she had been beaten and stabbed through the left lung; the blade went through her body and touched the floor beneath her.
Who Killed Christa Worthington?
At the scene, the kitchen door appeared to be forced open or possibly kicked in. While nothing was missing from inside the house, there were signs of a struggle outside. Personal items, like her keys, eyeglasses, and socks, were scattered on the ground near her car. In addition, there appeared to be parallel drag marks leading up to the door. Moreover, Christa seemingly had grass in her hair, yet her feet were clean. At the time, the authorities could not locate the murder weapon but did collect semen and saliva samples of a then-unidentified male from her body.
The authorities then looked at potential suspects in the case, including the men she had been in relationships with earlier. At the time, Christa’s daughter was about two and a half years old and was fathered by Tony Jackett, a local man. Christa and the latter, a married man, had a lengthy affair that ended when she got pregnant with Ava. Initially, the latter hid it from his wife, Susan, but did tell her two years after Ava was born. At the time of the incident, it seemed like they had worked out a way to have him involved in his daughter’s life.
The police looked into Tim, Tony, and Tony’s son-in-law, Keith Amato, though all of them were eventually ruled out. Then, more than three years later, the biological evidence from the murder matched Christopher McCowen. He used to be Christa’s trash collector and was interviewed early on in the case. He was arrested in April 2005, with the authorities sitting down with him for a lengthy investigation.
At the time, Christopher’s story kept changing constantly. Initially, he claimed not to know Christa at all, but when confronted with the DNA evidence, he admitted to going to her house on January 4, 2002, to have sex with her. While Christopher confessed to beating her, he stated that the murder was committed by a friend of his, Jeremy Frazier; the two were together at a party earlier that night.
The contradictory stories became crucial during Christopher’s trial for Christa’s murder. While the prosecution claimed that he killed Christa after going to her home after the party, the defense said they only had sex, and someone else killed the single mother. Eventually, the jury found Christopher guilty of Christa’s murder and sent him away for life. However, he has always maintained his innocence.
Read More: Where is Christopher McCowen Now?