Bethany police revealed Tuesday in court papers that there may be a video showing the killing and dismemberment of Carina Saunders.
A woman thought to have a copy of the video agreed to meet with Bethany police last week, but she didn't show up because she “was scared to come forward,” according to a search warrant affidavit filed Tuesday in Oklahoma County District Court.
Police on July 3 searched a south Oklahoma City motel room where the woman — identified as Mindy Cottier — was staying. Police recovered a laptop computer, two zip drives, two cameras and four mobile phones.
Bethany Police Chief Phil Cole declined to comment on whether the video was found.
“Anything I release could hinder our investigation,” Cole said.
Cottier, 24, identifies herself on the Internet as an exotic dancer and professional escort. She goes by the alias, Michelle Foxx. She has a record that includes three arrests in 2009 and 2010 on prostitution complaints in the Dallas area, court documents show.
“I'm a stripper/escort and I love my job!” she wrote on Facebook. “I make more than 90% of the college graduates out there.”
She also wrote she now works at Little Darlings, a strip club in Valley Brook.
Reached by phone, she declined to comment Tuesday. Her attorney, Scott Adams, said he also could not comment because of the sensitivity of the investigation.
The victim's body was found dismembered and stuffed in a duffel bag behind a Homeland grocery store on Oct. 13, 2011. The Mustang resident was 19.
Police have identified some suspects in the case and arrested a man last week on a murder complaint in the case. No one has been charged with first-degree murder yet.
Since Saunders' death, detectives have interviewed more than 80 witnesses and followed hundreds of leads, according to the affidavit.
“For the past several months, we have learned from various sources that a digital video recording exists of the murder of Saunders, but to date, no one in law enforcement has been able to confirm the existence of this video,” Detective Angelo Orefice wrote in the affidavit.
According to the document, Cottier has a copy of the video and agreed to come to the police station for an interview on July 2 but changed her mind.
A local attorney told police he had been contacted by a woman “who supposedly had a video of a murder” but was scared to come forward, Orefice wrote.
According to the affidavit, police located Cottier the next day walking in front of the Studio 6 Motel at 3850 S Prospect. She was staying at the motel and took detectives to her room.
The room was rented to a felon named Christopher Banschbach, 26, who was inside with an unidentified female, the detective reported. A handgun was lying on the bed in plain view, the detective reported.
When police entered the room, the unidentified woman asked why she was being detained, and Orefice replied “because there is a gun, and probably methamphetamine, inside the room.”
Officers found a trace amount of “tannish powder” on a nightstand, and several hundred dollars in Banschbach's pants pocket, the affidavit shows.
Banschbach was arrested and booked on several complaints, including trafficking, possession of drug proceeds and possession of a firearm after a previous conviction. He was being held Tuesday at the Oklahoma County jail with bail set at $49,500, a jail official said.
Banschbach, according to court documents, has three felony convictions in Oklahoma County for possession of methamphetamine. One of those convictions, a 2010 case, includes a possession of meth with intent to distribute.
The Bethany police chief would not say whether Cottier or the other woman in the motel room was arrested. Cottier was not booked into the Bethany or Oklahoma County jails in the past week, jail officials said Tuesday.
It was unclear Tuesday whether Cottier has dealings with any of the other suspects in the murder case, or whether Banschbach was an associate of the suspects.
Last week, Bethany police arrested Luis E. Ruiz, 37, of Oklahoma City, on a murder complaint in Saunders' murder.
Police have previously said they were considering suspects who had been jailed on charges of drug and human trafficking.
A confidential witness told police she was kidnapped and forced to watch as members of a human trafficking ring tortured and murdered Saunders to send a message to others to cooperate with their illegal activities.
In December 2011, Francisco Gomez, 32, and Jimmy Lee Massey, 33, were named as persons of interest in connection with Saunders' death. Both men remain in the Oklahoma County jail.
According to court records, Massey admitted to kidnapping a woman and making her watch as Saunders was tortured and killed Oct. 9. Massey also described how Saunders' body was dismembered and left in a field behind the Homeland grocery store at NW 23 and Rockwell Avenue.
Contributing: Staff Writers Nolan Clay and Andrew Knittle