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Who strangled Maddy?

The Discovery

On a sunny Tuesday morning, John Smith was walking his dog through the local park. As he passed by a cluster of trees, his dog suddenly started barking and pulling on the leash. John followed his dog’s line of sight and was horrified to find the body of a young woman lying lifeless on the ground. She was dressed in running clothes and her skin was pale. John immediately called the police.

The Victim

The victim was quickly identified as 20-year-old Maddy Thompson, a local college student. Maddy was well-liked around town and known for her involvement in charity organizations. She lived nearby with a roommate and was an avid runner, often taking morning jogs through the park trails. Maddy’s parents were distraught when they received the tragic news. They described their daughter as a kind, thoughtful young woman who was beloved by her friends and family. Her death came as a tremendous shock to the community.

The Autopsy

An autopsy was performed to determine Maddy’s cause of death. The medical examiner concluded that Maddy had been strangled to death, with clear ligature marks visible around her neck. Her body also showed signs of a struggle, including bruises and scratches on her arms and face. The examiner estimated her time of death to be sometime during the previous evening. DNA evidence was collected from under Maddy’s fingernails, suggesting she had fought fiercely against her attacker. Toxicology tests showed no drugs or alcohol in her system. The autopsy results painted a clear picture – Maddy had been violently strangled by an unknown perpetrator the night before her body was found.

The Investigation

Police immediately launched a homicide investigation, scouring the park for evidence. They cordoned off the area where Maddy’s body was found and searched for potential murder weapons, DNA traces, and other clues. Canvassing the neighborhood turned up several potential witnesses who reported seeing a suspicious man in the area the previous night. One witness provided a basic description of a white male with dark hair lurking near the park trails around the estimated time of Maddy’s murder.

Forensic testing showed that fibers found on Maddy’s clothing matched a dark wool coat owned by her ex-boyfriend, 23-year-old Ryan Jones. When questioned, Ryan claimed he had not seen Maddy for several weeks, but police were skeptical of his story. An examination of Maddy’s phone records indicated she and Ryan had shared several tense calls the day before her death, likely arguing about the status of their relationship. Ryan had a prior record of domestic violence incidents, further heightening law enforcement’s suspicion.

Detectives dug deeper into Maddy’s life in search of potential suspects who may have wanted to harm the young woman. They learned that Maddy had recently reported a fellow classmate, Derek Mills, for plagiarism, resulting in Derek’s expulsion from school. Derek had made verbal threats against Maddy afterwards. Upon interviewing, Derek acknowledged he was angry with Maddy over the plagiarism incident but claimed he was out of town the night of the murder. Police worked quickly to verify his alibi.

As the investigation unfolded, Maddy’s parents urged anyone with information to come forward, hoping to bring justice for their murdered daughter. A $10,000 reward was offered for tips leading to an arrest.

The Suspects

Ryan Jones

Topping the list of suspects was Ryan Jones, Maddy’s ex-boyfriend. Ryan’s history of domestic violence and arguing with Maddy pointed to him as the prime suspect. Traces of Ryan’s wool coat fibers on Maddy seemed to implicate him further. Ryan insisted he was innocent, claiming he truly loved Maddy and would never harm her. But detectives remained unconvinced by his pleas. With his record, violent temper, and link to the victim, Ryan remained suspect number one.

Derek Mills

Also under the microscope was Derek Mills, the former classmate Maddy had reported for plagiarism. Derek harbored clear resentment against Maddy for ruining his academic career, evidenced by verbal threats he made afterwards. His alibi was still being substantiated, but detectives eyed Derek closely in Maddy’s death. However, thus far there was no physical evidence actually tying Derek to the crime scene.

The Stranger

Witness reports of a strange man near the park the night of Maddy’s murder added a third suspect into the mix. If Maddy was in fact killed in the park during her evening jog, this unknown man was likely the culprit. But with only a vague physical description, police had little to go on to identify or track down this potential stranger murderer. It remained possible the man in the park had nothing to do with Maddy’s death at all.

Without enough evidence to name an official suspect, the investigation continued examining all angles. Detectives expanded the search, looking for any additional suspects who may have wished harm upon Maddy. They announced plans to re-interview key witnesses and persons of interest until the killer was caught. The community waited anxiously for the mystery of Maddy’s murder to be solved.

The Resolution

Two weeks after Maddy’s strangled body was discovered in the park, police finally got the break in the case they needed. A search of Derek Mills’ home uncovered key evidence linking him to the murder – jewelry that belonged to Maddy was found stashed under Derek’s bed. Confronted with this evidence, Derek broke down and confessed to killing Maddy in a fit of rage over his expulsion.

That night, he had waited for her in the secluded park trails, knowing her usual running route. When Maddy passed by, Derek jumped out from the trees and grabbed her in a chokehold until she lost consciousness. He then strangled Maddy with a rope, causing the ligature marks discovered during autopsy. Derek expressed remorse upon confessing but could not provide an explanation for his violent actions beyond uncontrollable anger. He was swiftly arrested and charged with first-degree murder.

Further investigation verified Derek’s admission. His DNA matched traces from under Maddy’s fingernails, where she had scratched him while attempting to fight off her killer. Phone records also placed Derek near the park at the estimated time of the murder. The mysterious fibers on Maddy’s clothes were traced back to a common woolen glove, not Ryan’s coat as originally presumed. With Derek’s confession and the hard physical evidence implicating him, prosecutors had an air-tight case.

Ryan Jones and other initial suspects were cleared of suspicion and eliminated from the investigation. The tragic murder that shook the community was finally solved, bringing a sense of closure. Maddy’s family expressed relief that justice would be served, thanking the detectives for their diligent work resolving the case. Though still grieving their loss, they could find some comfort knowing Maddy’s killer would be held accountable for the horrific crime.


The untimely death of 20-year-old Maddy Thompson shocked her small town community. In the end, it was not jealous ex-boyfriend Ryan Jones or a mysterious stranger who murdered the beloved young woman in cold blood. Rather, Derek Mills, an expelled classmate who harbored a grudge against Maddy for reporting his academic dishonesty, was the one who viciously strangled the innocent jogger in an act of misguided revenge. Thanks to solid police work and damning physical evidence, Derek’s crime was uncovered and punished accordingly. Maddy’s murder serves as a grim reminder of the ongoing dangers women often face from entitled men who lashed out violently when rejected or held accountable. While nothing can undo this tragedy, the community can take solace knowing justice was ultimately served for Maddy.