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Fugitive arrested in standoff at BR motel now suspected of killing man who went missing in Georgia

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BATON ROUGE - A fugitive who forced Baton Rouge police into a lengthy standoff back in May is now implicated in a months-long investigation surrounding the disappearance of a Georgia man. 

Danetta Knoblauch of Wichita, Kansas is facing charges including murder and arson in the death of Melvin Cooksey, the Newton County Sheriff's Office announced Thursday. 

Cooksey — who was partially paralyzed and lived with the assistance of medical equipment — was first reported missing Feb. 23. According to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, someone set fire to Cooksey's home a day after his disappearance. 

Months later, on May 2, Baton Rouge police tried to arrest Knoblauch — who was not yet named a suspect in Cooksey's disappearance — on a fugitive warrant out of Kansas. Knoblauch waived extradition after her arrest, but she was set free after a judge in Kansas ordered her release on June 12. 

Knoblauch seemingly stuck around the capital area and was picked up again June 19 — this time by East Baton Rouge sheriff's deputies — on a separate fugitive warrant out of Newton County for aggravated assault, which linked her to Cooksey's disappearance.

She was finally moved to Newton County this week, where she was questioned and booked July 4. The sheriff's office confirmed that Cooksey was presumed dead as they announced Knoblauch's arrest on Thursday. 


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