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Boyfriend accused of killing Minn. girlfriend, burning her body in New Orleans

Joseph Porter1 / 2
Cristina Prodan2 / 2

EDINA, Minn.—An Arkansas man was charged Friday with kidnapping his Edina girlfriend and is suspected of killing her and burning her body in a New Orleans shipping container.

U.S. Attorney Gregory Brooker released a nine-page federal criminal complaint charging Joseph Porter, 25, of Little Rock, with the kidnapping of Cristina Prodan, 27, of Edina. She was reported missing by her mother, Livia Prodan, on Jan. 5.

In an interview with WCCO-TV, Prodan wept when police told her that her daughter was probably dead.

"He took the life of my daughter," she said of Porter. "So young."

The complaint, dictated by FBI Special Agent Blake Hostetter, documents a toxic relationship between Porter and Prodan that began on Facebook sometime before October 2017 and escalated to domestic abuse, rape, kidnapping and possibly murder.

According to the complaint, Porter lived in Arkansas, but later moved into the condominium on Parklawn Avenue in Edina with Prodan and her mother. The mother told police she was afraid of Porter, that he did not sleep at night, and that he made a lot of noise. She moved out Oct. 15, about two weeks after his arrival.

Prodan's mother told police that Porter beat and raped her daughter, but that her daughter did not want to leave him because she loved him.

Edina police responded to 19 calls to the condominium since Porter's arrival. The last seven reports were of domestic disturbances and one was for criminal sexual conduct. Porter was arrested for domestic assault, interfering with a 911 call, and twice for violating a domestic abuse no-contact order.

On Jan. 2, Prodan told her mother that she planned to go to Arkansas with Porter and that she would return to Minnesota if things did not work out.

Things were not working out. The very next day, Prodan told her mother that Porter no longer loved her and was assaulting her.

Early on Jan. 4, an Edina police officer made contact with Porter, who was driving a 1995 Honda Accord. Porter had pulled up beside the officer's vehicle and claimed that Prodan would not get out of his vehicle. Prodan told the officer she wanted to work things out with Porter. She left the car and walked toward the condominium.

Less than half an hour later, police were dispatched back to the condominium after receiving a call from Prodan's mother. Prodan told police she was afraid Porter, who had keys to the apartment, would return and rob her.

The next day, Jan. 5, Prodan's mother went to the condo to check on her daughter but was unable to find her, so she filed a missing person report. Police had Prodan's name placed on the National Criminal Information Center as a missing person.

The FBI got involved when the kidnapping crossed state lines. They tracked her cellphone until it was turned off in Cabot, Ark., where Porter and another man, identified as Porter's husband, had pawned the phone.

On Jan. 9, they found Porter, who had burns on his face. The car he was driving had been stolen from a business in New Orleans. About 2,000 feet from the business, police found the badly burned body of a female in the back of a shipping container. Porter was arrested and remains jailed in Little Rock.

The investigation is ongoing as DNA and dental record results, which would confirm Prodan's death, are still pending. No state murder charges have been filed.