Dakota Van Patten and McKinley Louisma charged in Melody Hoffman murder case in Iowa

Mugshot of Dakota Van Patten
Dakota Van Patten was arrested yesterday, accused of killing Melody Hoffman. Pic credit: Linn County Sheriff’s Office

The police in Iowa have arrested a second person in connection with the murder of Melody Hoffman, whose body was found strangled, beaten, and stabbed at Lily Lake in Amana, IA, on Sunday.

Teenager Dakota Van Patten was arrested yesterday (Wednesday) and charged with first-degree murder and kidnapping. The 18-year-old joins his suspected accomplice, 23-year-old McKinley Louisma, who was arrested on Tuesday and charged with kidnapping.

The body of 20-year-old Melody was discovered on Sunday in a remote area near the Lily Lake pond to the southwest of Cedar Rapids, IA.

The Iowa State Medical Examiner has not yet released a detailed report on the autopsy, but preliminary reports suggest she died from strangulation and had also suffered stab wounds.

Melody was last seen alive on Saturday evening. The police believe she was picked up at about 11 p.m. by Louisma and taken to Morgan Creek Park, where she was attacked by Louisma and Van Patten.

The cops say Melody was tied up and placed in the trunk of the car and was driven to multiple places before she was taken to Lily Lake pond, where her clothes were ripped off, and she was beaten, stabbed, slashed, and abandoned there.

Melody Hoffman Iowa murder: Apple Watch device helped lead to arrest of Van Patten and Louisma

Melody’s Apple Watch registered an elevated heartbeat before she was either murdered or the device was switched off.

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A search of Louisma’s vehicle revealed Melody’s phone case and Apple Watch band with blood on it. The cops also discovered a cord, rope, and gloves, along with her clothing, in a trash bag in the trunk of the car.

Mugshot of McKinley Louisma
McKinley Louisma is facing charges of kidnapping Melody Hoffman, Pic credit: Linn County Sheriff’s Office

Court documents state that Louisma has admitted to the kidnapping but not murder. He allegedly said that Melody had begged them to let her go.

The document also alleges that Louisma told officers that Van Patten would put the blame on him for Melody’s murder.

Louisma was reportedly in a relationship with Melody but was also seeing another woman.

Suspects McKinley Louisma and Dakota Van Patten already facing charges in an assault prior to Melody Hoffman killing

Both suspects were already out on bond from another case and are facing charges of willful injury charges for allegedly assaulting a man in Cedar Rapids last month.

Louisma had his first court appearance in the Melody case on Tuesday, and Van Patten is expected to appear before a judge on Thursday morning.

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