Authorities say kidnapping ended in brutal murder, dismemberment in Tucson

John Anthony Cole, of Tucson, is facing several charges in connection with a Phoenix...
John Anthony Cole, of Tucson, is facing several charges in connection with a Phoenix kidnapping and murder case.(Maricopa County Sheriff's Office)
Published: Sep. 22, 2022 at 3:14 PM EDT|Updated: Sep. 22, 2022 at 3:36 PM EDT
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TUCSON, Ariz. (KOLD News 13) - A Phoenix kidnapping ended with a brutal murder and dismemberment in Tucson, according to authorities.

KOLD reports John Anthony Cole, of Tucson, is facing charges of first-degree murder, kidnapping, theft by extortion and concealment of a body.

Investigators from the Phoenix Police Department said Cole, 45, admitted to the crime and led them to at least parts of the victim.

On Sept. 16, Cole allegedly kidnapped Antoine Smith from his Phoenix home and the two then drove to Tucson. Cole claimed Smith owed him money.

During that drive, Cole said he pulled off Interstate 10 in a rural part of Pima County to use the bathroom.

Cole claimed Smith then attacked him. Cole said he was able to put Smith in a submission hold before strangling him, according to court documents.

Cole said he then took Smith’s body to his home, located in the 5900 block of East Third Street in Tucson.

Investigators said Cole spent the next few days buying cleaning, masking and other supplies to dismember Smith’s body.

The PPD said Cole told them where he dumped the body but refused to provide a DNA sample.

On Sept. 20, Cole was arrested by the Arizona Department of Public Safety while driving on Interstate 10 near Quartzsite, Arizona. Authorities said human remains were found in the vehicle and they believe they belong to the victim.

KOLD was at a crime scene at South Kolb Road and East Sycamore Park Boulevard in Tuscon late Wednesday night. Their reporter saw several unmarked police vehicles.

KOLD reached out to police about the scene and was told it was part of an ongoing investigation about a kidnapping.

According to federal records, Cole was sentenced to 188 months in prison in 2003 for cocaine possession with intent to distribute.

According to the Pima County Superior Court, Cole is also facing aggravated assault and aggravated harassment charges from an incident early this year.