Crime and Courts

Man accused of strangling son's mother, dumping body in trash in Woodbridge charged with murder

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A man accused of killing the mother of his son and dumping her body in the trash now is charged with first-degree murder.

Taty’ana Cooks was reported missing March 21 when she didn't show up to get her 1-year-old son, Beau, from daycare. Police say they quickly suspected foul play.

Ring video from a neighbor allegedly shows Beau's father, Brendon White, leaving Cooks’ apartment on Stevenson Court in Woodbridge, Virginia, with a suitcase on the day she was reported missing.

In court Wednesday, police said Cooks’ body was stuffed into a suitcase after White strangled her. He then tossed the suitcase in a dumpster and drove Cooks’ car to Newport News while police and family searched for her in the neighborhood.

"I had walked around the parking lot, you know, crying and stuff, but she was in that dumpster I walked past, twice. Twice," said Cooks’ father, Saquan Ir-Rahman.

After police learned Cooks’ body might be in the dumpster, they were able to stop the trash truck before it unloaded at a landfill. Police said they found Cooks’ body inside the suitcase while police in Newport News had detained White for questioning.

White told police an argument with Cooks escalated. He claims she grabbed his gun and pointed it at him, and he strangled her to stop her. He then took his 8-month-old daughter, who was inside the apartment at the time of the killing, to Newport News.

As Prince William County prosecutors outlined the chilling allegations against White, he broke down crying in the courtroom. Ir-Rahman said he was furious and disgusted White would show such emotion now.

Beau, the son White shares with Cooks, now lives with an aunt.

“Just to see the agony of what the son's going through in the middle of the night, waking up, screaming," Ir-Rahman said.

The case against White goes to a grand jury Aug. 6. If the grand jury certifies the charges, the case will be set for trial.

Ir-Rahman said he's glad Virginia no longer has the death penalty, but he hopes White is found guilty and sentenced to life in prison.

White has pleaded not guilty. His defense attorney made no argument on his behalf at Tuesday's preliminary hearing.

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