(KMSP) - Police believe a burned body that turned up in a New Orleans shipping container earlier this month may be that of a missing Edina woman, according to search warrants filed in Hennepin County last week.
Cristina Prodan, 27, went missing Jan. 5 without a trace. Her boyfriend, Joseph Porter turned up in an Arkansas prison just a few days later with severe burns across much of his face, leaving Prodan's family and friends to fear the worst.
Police found a car belonging to Porter near a Jan. 6 shipping container fire on Old Gentilly Road in New Orleans, finding him later in a car stolen from a business nearby the scene of the blaze. Authorities pulled a body from the debris, saying it belonged to a small woman. Dental and DNA examinations are still pending.
She met Porter on Facebook last October, with the Arkansas native moving to Minnesota soon after to live with Prodan and her mother, Livia Prodan, in Edina. Despite reporting him for multiple domestic incidents and a rape within the first few months, her mother told police she refused to leave Porter "because she loved him."
"She felt in love with him--she wanted to get married," Livia Prodan said. "I told her, 'He doesn’t love you, he just came to you to steal from you--he's homeless, he doesn’t work.'"
After Prodan went missing investigators discovered Porter was married to another man back in Arkansas, with surveillance video showing the couple pawning her phone at a Walmart near the home of Porter's husband. Police executed a search warrant at the man's Arkansas home, finding several of Prodan's belongings and the stolen car.
Porter was booked into the Pulaski County, Arkansas jail Jan. 10 on theft charges, while her family and friends say they're devastated at the loss.
"She bought food for him," Livia Prodan said. "She bought him clothes, and he killed her."
Charges have not yet been filed in the case and the incident remains under investigation.