New details emerge in murder of Rachael Anderson

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COLUMBUS -- The Columbus Division of Police said a man with a lengthy and violent criminal history tortured and murdered a 24-year-old woman, and police said it appears the attack was random.

SWAT officers arrested 53-year-old Anthony Pardon after police said they discovered his DNA at the crime scene.

Police said on January 29th, Rachael Anderson's co-workers called 911 and said she never showed up to work the day after her birthday.

“It's completely out of character for her," a co-worker told police dispatchers.

Anderson was found by a family member on Monday.

Police say her body was in her apartment on Allegheny Avenue, in a closet and hidden.

Police said Anderson died by asphyxiation.

Investigators said they got a break in the case when one of Pardon's family members, who had no knowledge of the murder, used the victim's stolen credit card.

Police said Pardon's girlfriend, who investigators believe also had no knowledge of the crime, lives a short distance from Anderson's apartment.

"It's within a short walking distance from where Rachael's apartment is at. I don't know all the how's and why's of this, but I think it's just a coincidence that he ended up being at the same spot," said Sgt. Stan Latta with the Columbus Division of Police homicide unit.

Latta credited the hard work of his investigative unit, the Ohio Bureau of Criminal Investigation, and eyewitnesses who were willing to share information with the swift resolution in the murder case.

Police would not go into the details surrounding Anderson’s death, but said it appeared she had been tortured.

“It’s sad when something like this happens,” Sgt. Latta said. “But, our role is to try to get to the truth and try to give the family some closure in regards to what happened and why.”

While police investigate the “why,” they say they have the “who.”

Pardon has a long and violent criminal history. In 1982, court records show he was convicted of aggravated robbery, rape, and attempted murder in Franklin County. Pardon served 24 years in prison and is currently a Tier 3 sex offender.

Pardon drove Anderson’s car after the murder, used her credit card and left DNA at the scene, according to police.

“Between that and some DNA evidence that came back to Mr. Pardon, we were able to conclude, with certainty, that Anthony James Pardon was responsible for her death,” Sgt. Latta said.

He is now charged with murder and behind bars on a $5 million bond.

According to Anderson’s obituary, she was an aspiring funeral director. She attended Youngstown State University and majored in prerequisites for mortuary science.

She continued her bachelor’s degree at Cincinnati College of Mortuary Science and graduated in 2016.

She had been apprenticing at the Shaw-Davis Funeral Home, located in Columbus, according to her obituary.​

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