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Murder suspect shot woman in head several times, left her body on I-70, court docs allege

Dai'Ghia Hogan
Dai'Ghia Hogan
Posted at 6:01 PM, May 04, 2022
and last updated 2022-05-05 13:24:31-04

INDIANAPOLIS — A man suspected of killing a woman whose body was found in early March along Interstate 70 left her for dead after shooting her in the head several times, court records allege.

A probable cause affidavit filed Monday names Jason K. Rhea, 45, of Indianapolis, as the suspect in the homicide of Dai'Ghia Hogan — or "Dai Dai" as her family called her — who had just turned 21 years old before she was killed.

Hogan's body was discovered March 1 on I-70 on Indianapolis' east side, about a half-mile east of the German Church Road overpass.

An Indiana state trooper was patrolling the interstate about 7:23 a.m. when he saw her body lying on the ground at the 93.3-mile marker, according to the affidavit. She was pronounced dead at the scene and later identified using a fingerprint scanner.

At the scene, investigators recovered three .380 caliber shell casings, as well as a glass pipe believed to have been used to consume drugs. Physical evidence indicated the shooting happened where her body was found, according to the affidavit.

An autopsy found Hogan was shot in the head three times — twice in the right backside and once on the left side of her face near her chin. Her death was ruled a homicide due to multiple gunshot wounds.

This was not the only recent tragedy to affect her family. Last May, Hogan's sister and her newborn baby died in a car crash. Another sister told WRTV Hogan had changed her lifestyle by running with a different crowd and using heavy drugs — but that no matter what she was doing, she didn't deserve to die.

Dai'Ghia Hogan
Dai'Ghia Hogan, 21, of Indianapolis was found dead Tuesday, March 1 along Interstate-70 on the city's east side. A homicide investigation is now underway.

Police learned after speaking with Hogan's family that on Feb. 27 and 28 she was at the Motor 8 Inn at 3731 N. Shadeland Ave., on the city's northeast side.

"The Motor 8 was one of her usual 'hang out' places, and she would prostitute to obtain money to support her drug habit," the investigating detective wrote in the affidavit.

On March 4, police obtained security footage, which showed Hogan was at the motel on Feb. 27 and 28 and March 1. The footage showed that about 5:16 a.m. the day of her death — just under two hours before her body was found — Hogan was seen leaving a room along with a woman and a man later identified as Jason Rhea. The group took off together in Rhea's 2008 silver Dodge Avenger. Rhea drove, with Hogan in a back seat and the other woman in the front passenger seat, according to the affidavit.

A background check showed Rhea was listed as a witness to a homicide at the Motor 8 Inn but provided another person's phone number to IMPD. Police later found his number through the call history of the other woman Rhea was seen with on the morning of Hogan's death. Police found Rhea's phone went to the location Hogan was killed and stayed there for about six minutes before heading back toward the motel.

Video surveillance showed Rhea and the other woman returned to the motel about 5:38 a.m. before leaving with two other people in the Dodge.

RELATED | Woman found dead along Interstate 70 in Indianapolis | Sister of woman found dead near I-70 seeking justice amid homicide investigation | 'My sister was very strong' Family remembers mother and newborn killed in Indy crash

Then, on April 14, police executed warrants for the phones of Rhea and the other woman. That led them to a home on Adams Street, where the Dodge was parked outside. A search warrant was later executed on that home, in which suspected drugs and a .380 semi-automatic handgun were found. The rounds in the gun matched the brand of casings found where Hogan was killed and the gun was recovered, according to the affidavit.

In an April 15 interview with police, the woman who was with Rhea and Hogan on the day of the shooting said she was trying to help Hogan because of the lifestyle she was leading. She admitted to getting in the Dodge and going to a gas station but when questioned further only said she had a seizure and fell asleep. She also said she lived with Rhea at the home on Adams Street, the affidavit alleges.

A few days later, DNA samples were collected from that woman and Rhea to be compared with those taken from the gun recovered from the Adams Street home. A swab of the muzzle of the firearm provided "very strong support for the inclusion of Dai-Ghia Hogan and Jason K. Rhea," while the other woman was excluded as being a contributor", according to the affidavit. The gun was later confirmed as the one from which casings were recovered from the scene of Hogan's death.

Rhea is charged with felony counts of murder and unlawful possession of a firearm by a serious violent felon.

An initial court appearance has yet to be scheduled on his behalf.

The Indiana State Police Indianapolis post on Wednesday released the following statistics on interstate shootings:

  • 2022: 22 (as of May 1st)
  • 2021: 65
  • 2020: 23
  • 2019: 19
  • 2018: 19