Sep. 9—Authorities in Arizona have arrested a 32-year-old Red Wing, Minn., man accused of strangling his girlfriend to death in a Hastings hotel room in May.
Kyle Steven Williams was charged last month in Dakota County District Court with second-degree murder (with intent, not premeditated) for the death of 36-year-old Kelly Jo Marie Kocurek, who grew up in Hastings and was the mother two children.
An arrest warrant for Williams was issued Aug. 19 and he was apprehended a week later in Phoenix, according to Maricopa County Jail records. He is awaiting extradition to Minnesota.
Kocurek was found unresponsive, bloody and bruised May 18 in a room at Coratel Inn and Suites, 2450 Vermillion St. She was taken to Regions Hospital in St. Paul and was in a coma before dying May 23, according to a criminal complaint filed against Williams.
Williams told Hastings police officers that Kocurek had strangled herself with a cord, but an autopsy by the Ramsey County medical examiner's office determined her manner of death was homicide, with the cause asphyxia due to ligature strangulation.
SHE WAS IN 'GOOD SPIRITS'
According to the criminal complaint, when officers responded to a medical call at the hotel around 1:20 p.m. they saw Williams run out the door screaming for officers to hurry. Williams led officers to room 205 and told them he could not get her to wake up and that they should "zap" her. Once inside the hotel room, officers saw Kocurek on the floor.
Several cords that appeared to be cut were next to Kocurek, who had a bloodied, bruised and swollen face. Officers saw marks around her neck.
While officers tried to revive her, Williams "continued to scream hysterically" that she had strangled herself, the complaint read.
Officers spoke with several witnesses to try and piece together what had happened. Kocurek's mother, Lynda Dahl, said her daughter was in a relationship with Williams. She said she drove her daughter to the hotel on May 17, and that she last saw her around noon the next day when she dropped off a bag of her personal belongings. Kocurek was in "good spirits," her mother told investigators.
Just over an hour later, Dahl got a call from Williams, who said Kocurek was unresponsive and needed help. Dahl told him to call 911 and she immediately drove to the hotel.
A hotel worker told investigators that he had seen Kocurek's mother drop off a bag and that about a half-hour later heard "boom, boom, boom, like people were wrestling or fighting," the complaint read. He said that about 10 minutes later he heard a male voice yelling "Kelly! Kelly!" and shortly thereafter saw Williams in a hallway with blood on him.
Williams gave investigators "numerous versions" of what had happened, according to the complaint, but he repeatedly said she had strangled herself with a cord.
A person familiar with Kocurek told police that she had a pre-existing injury to her right arm that required her to get help with daily tasks such as putting on clothes and brushing teeth.
The medical examiner's office noted several injuries related to the asphyxia that were inconsistent with a self-inflicted injury, including a horizontal abrasion on the neck, a fracture of the hyoid bone, deep soft tissue hemorrhage and petechial hemorrhage in both eyes. The medical examiner also noted that Kocurek had numerous traumatic head injuries that he attributed to physical assault, including bruises on her face, head and ear, in addition to fractures on both sides of her jaw.
According to Minnesota court records, Williams was convicted of felony first-degree aggravated robbery (aiding and abetting) in 2008, felony terroristic threats in 2012, misdemeanor disorderly conduct in 2018 and misdemeanor theft in March of this year.
'MOM, I LOVE YOU'
Kocurek's obituary described her as a "generous, intelligent, fun-loving person" who "loved her family and her daughters dearly." She had an "irresistible laugh and brought joy to so many lives," the obituary read.
On Thursday, Dahl, Kocurek's mother, said her daughter was a 2000 graduate of Hastings High School and that she had been living with her in Red Wing. Kocurek's survivors include her two daughters, ages 18 and 11, Dahl said.
She said Kocurek had struggled with drug addiction. She said her daughter called her from the hotel to ask if she would drop off a bag of her belongings because she planned to check into a treatment center in Chaska later in the week for a three-month stay. In the parking lot, she asked her mom for three kisses.
"I asked her why three kisses and Kelly said, 'Well, that's my lucky number. Wish me luck,' " Dahl said. "So I said, 'Well, Kelly, you're going to do good in three months. I have faith in you, you can do this.' So then, she's walking in the parking lot and going into the hotel again and she's crying. She said, 'Mom, I love you' and I said, 'I love you, too.' And she went upstairs."