When 53-year-old Air Force veteran Christopher “Chris” Regan suddenly disappeared in October 2014, it left not only the state of Michigan but also the entire nation baffled to its very core. After all, as carefully profiled in ABC’s ’20/20: Where Monsters Hide,’ he wasn’t one to just walk away from his life of discipline, hard work, as well as responsibilities, and it turned out to be true. He’d actually been killed, something his ex-girlfriend Terri O’Donnell had feared from the moment she’d realized he was missing and reported the same to the Iron River Police Department.
Who is Terri O’Donnell?
It was reportedly back when Chris was still stationed at the KI Sawyer Air Force Base in Marquette that he first came across school teacher Terri, only for them to soon evolve into much more. In fact, apart from Iron River’s easy access to the great outdoors, she is one of the primary reasons he chose to relocate to this nearby small town following his discharge from active duty. That’s when the duo became exclusive and went as far as to begin planning “a future together” — as per the latter, they were thinking of living together upon moving to a different area entirely.
However, things changed once Terri realized there were two sides to her boyfriend; one was the epitome of charm, humor, as well as passion, whereas the other had unfaltering wandering eyes. “He decided that he was going to hook up with other women while I was [on vacation] in England,” she once candidly said. “He told me that didn’t mean anything… It was just sex that had nothing to do with his love or our relationship, and I didn’t understand that part.” It thus comes as no surprise she chose to split with him, yet the truth is they remained in constant touch as close friends — in fact, they intended to spend both Thanksgiving and Christmas together.
Therefore, when Terri didn’t hear from Chris for ten days straight following a text message he’d sent on October 14, 2014, she reported him missing with the insistence this was highly uncharacteristic. That’s because she’d already spoken to his co-workers and friends before visiting his apartment since no one else had heard him either, only to find it “in shambles, it was a wreck, there was stuff scattered everywhere… He hadn’t been there; he was gone. He vanished.” She had then found his vehicle in the most unlikely place possible, at the Park and Ride, considering he’d recently had knee surgery, leading her to drive to the nearest police station in tears of panic.
Where is Terri O’Donnell Now?
As one of Chris’ friends, Terri had heard of his alleged explicit association with his married co-worker Kelly Cochran through the grapevine, which is why she didn’t hesitate to mention her to detectives. Yet, she could’ve never imagined this woman would confess to having a hand in his brutal homicide nearly two years later before leading officials to his decapitated skull in the Upper Peninsula woods — she and her then-husband Jason had slain him over the affair. Terri’s quiet hope for a happily ever after was hence snuffed out because he was well and truly “gone. We never had that opportunity to see if we could rebuild things or not. Kelly took that away.”
Thus, of course, Terri made sure to testify against Kelly during her trial for Chris’ first-degree murder before giving an impact statement on the day she was sentenced to life in prison for the same. “The first time I saw her was in the courthouse,” she said. “I just remember her staring at me and grinning. I took a deep breath and thought she was the scariest person I’ve ever seen. I was afraid. I couldn’t look at her for the rest of the time I was there testifying. It was like she was… laughing and saying, ‘Look at what I did. You can’t stop me.’… She just sat there and grinned. It was like the devil looking at you…”
Terri continued, “After I testified… I lost it. I totally lost it. I just remember driving, speeding, not knowing if I had crossed the border. I didn’t know if I was in Wisconsin or Michigan… I didn’t know what to do. I just wanted to run as far away from Kelly as possible.” She further added she doesn’t believe Chris was the first person she killed by asserting, “There’s just no way that the first person you choose to kill, you’re going to be able to clean up the blood and get rid of the body so that FBI agents can’t pull DNA off the walls… I don’t know how you could do that if it was the first person you’ve ever murdered.”
Terri was glad Chris got the justice he deserved in the end, yet it also broke her heart because she wasn’t prepared for it — she had doubts after he went missing, but she never saw the brutality of his death coming. Therefore, today, from what we can tell, it appears as if the proud West Iron Public School teacher is simply trying her best to move on in life while still keeping the positive memories of her ex alive in her heart.