Authorities in Mons, Belgium, were left shocked when Johanna Hove-Becker died after falling from the seventh floor of her apartment. Interestingly, the incident was initially treated as a death by suicide, although further investigation soon made the police realize they had a homicide on their hands. ‘Dateline: The Window’ chronicles the gruesome murder and portrays how law enforcement officials were able to bring the perpetrator to justice. Let’s dive into the details surrounding the crime and find out more, shall we?
How Did Johanna Hove-Becker Die?
A native of Stockholm, Sweden, Johanna was only six years old when her family moved to the United States to expand their business. They eventually settled in Jacksonville, Florida, and after completing her schooling in the States, Johanna decided to pursue a Bachelor’s degree in Psychology from the University of North Florida. Incidentally, she even earned her Master’s in Psychology from the same university before moving to Norfolk, Virginia, where she began her practice as a licensed psychologist. Besides, Johanna even met her husband while in Norfolk, and the two moved to Mons, Belgium, in 2013.
People who knew Johanna in Norfolk and Mons described her as a cheerful and caring person who treated others with kindness. Moreover, she never hesitated to help others in need and was known for her friendly nature, which helped her maintain amicable relationships with most. On top of that, Johanna was a loving mother of one at the time of her murder, and her untimely death shocked others as the 32-year-old had no known enemies.
On October 8, 2015, police officers in Mons received news about a possible death by suicide at a nearby penthouse apartment. Once first responders arrived on the scene, they found Johanna lying in a pool of blood on the pavement while onlookers crowded around her body. Unfortunately, the 32-year-old had already passed by then, and an initial medical examination indicated that the victim had died after falling from a great height. Besides, people present on the scene also claimed they had seen Johanna fall from her seventh-floor apartment window, and the police initially believed it was a death by suicide. However, apart from the lack of a suicide note, the autopsy told a different story as doctors found tramadol and zolpidem in her system, which would have put the victim in an unconscious state.
Who Killed Johanna Hove-Becker?
When the police initially determined Johanna’s death to be a death by suicide, her family, along with her close acquaintances, refuted the claim. They insisted that Johanna was a loving mother, and it was pretty uncharacteristic of her to stage a death by suicide all of a sudden. They also mentioned that there were no signs of her planning to take such a drastic step and pointed out how the victim did not leave a suicide note behind. Meanwhile, the autopsy revealed that Johanna had drugs in her system, which could have rendered her unconscious at the time of her death. Hence, considering the circumstances around the incident, detectives were forced to rethink their stand, and they eventually started a homicide investigation.
While investigating the murder, the police learned that Johanna had initially moved to Mons, Belgium, with her estranged husband, Navy Lt. Craig Becker. The couple was quite happy in the beginning, and they even shared a daughter, Isabelle Louise, who came into this world in June 2014. However, trouble soon plagued their marriage, and by September 2015, Craig and Johanna decided to separate. This naturally made Craig a person of interest in Johanna’s death, although he appeared utterly devastated by the news. He even seemed to grieve alongside Johanna’s parents and insisted that he had nothing to do with the crime.
In the meantime, the police reconstructed the crime scene and determined that Johanna had not jumped on her own but was instead pushed to her death. They even noticed marks around the apartment window she had fallen out of, further strengthening the murder theory. On the other hand, Craig invited suspicion when he claimed he did not know his wife’s phone’s password, even though authorities found evidence of him impersonating Johanna in text messages after her death. Additionally, law enforcement officers also found evidence indicating Craig was the one who poisoned his wife with tramadol and zolpidem just hours before she fell to her death from the seventh-floor window. Thus, with enough reason to warrant an arrest, authorities took Craig into custody and charged him with Johanna’s murder.
Incidentally, even after Craig’s arrest, he was not prosecuted but instead remained behind bars for two years. Eventually, the Navy took over in 2018 and conducted its own investigation before producing Craig Becker in court. Once put on trial, Craig claimed not guilty and insisted on his innocence. However, he was convicted on several charges, including assault consummated by a battery, conducting unbecoming an officer and a gentleman, and premeditated murder. As a result, he was sentenced to life in prison with the possibility of parole in 2022, while the Navy also removed him from his position. Although Craig has since appealed his sentencing, it has not been overruled, and he remains behind bars as of the time of writing.
Read More: Where is Navy Lt. Craig R. Becker Now?