Man ‘snapped teen’s neck after she refused to marry him’

A Pennsylvania man has been apprehended by police in Illinois and charged with savagely murdering a 19-year-old girl by snapping her neck and gouging out her eyes after she turned down his marriage proposal on Halloween.

Christopher Tucker, 34, of Berks County, Pennsylvania, was arrested at a truck stop in Illinois on charges of murder and criminal homicide in the slaying of Tara Serino, according to state police.

Investigators say Tucker asked Serino to marry him at his home in Albany Township some time between October 30 and October 31.

Tara Serino, 19

Halloween slaying: Christopher Tucker, 34 (left), has been charged with murder for allegedly killing 19-year-old Tara Serino by choking her and snapping her neck for rejecting his marriage proposal on October 31 

The teenager told Tucker ‘no’ and revealed to him that she was having sex with other men, police said. She also allegedly made an offhand comment that Tucker should ‘just killed her.’

Following his arrest, Tucker allegedly admitted that the rejection made him ‘snap,’ and he proceeded to choke Serino, break her neck, then poke out her eyes and beat her with a hatchet and a 25-pound weight plate.

He then wrapped the woman’s body in a rug and fled to Illinois.

Authorities in Champaign County, Illinois, apprehended the fugitive at a truck stop after he allegedly tried to break into a farmer’s combine machine, with the farmer still inside, and took him to a hospital for a mental health evaluation.

A sheriff’s official said the 34-year-old was acting strangely and was not making sense.

Meanwhile, troopers in Pennsylvania searched Tucker’s home after being contacted by Tara Serino’s father and discovered the woman’s lifeless body in a bedroom. Her injuries appeared consistent with Tucker’s confession.

Fugitive: Tucker fled to Illinois, where police arrested him at a truck stop where he attempted to break into a farmer's combine machine 

Fugitive: Tucker fled to Illinois, where police arrested him at a truck stop where he attempted to break into a farmer’s combine machine 

Tara’s father, Fred Serino, told police he last saw his daughter at 12.38am on October 30 when she went out, promising her parents to give them a call later to tell them she was fine. That call never came.

At 9.30pm on October 31, Mr Serino called state police in Hamburg, asking them to perform a welfare check at Christopher Tucker’s home.

Troopers were dispatched to the address but could not reach anyone inside the house.

The next day, Fred Serino got a visit from Tucker’s father, whom he did not know. John Tucker said he had been contacted by a hospital in Illinois saying his son was undergoing an evaluation there following his arrest at a truck stop.

Mr Tucker also told Serino that some of Tara’s belongings, including her purse and phone, were in his son’s home and that he wished to return them. It’s unclear whether or not the suspect’s father saw Tara’s body wrapped in the rug when he entered his house.

Following Tucker’s visit, at around 1.3pm on November 1, Fred Serino contacted police to report his daughter missing, leading to the gruesome discovery.

Christopher Tucker will be extradited back to Pennsylvania to face murder charges, as well as counts of aggravated assault and possession of an instrument of crime.

Tucker had been arrested just days before Serino’s killing on DUI and drug possession charges in Indiana County, Pennsylvania. He was released from jail after posting bail on October 27. His past criminal record also includes two other DUI arrests.

According to her obituary, Serino graduated from Parkland High School in 2015 and had an interest in nature photography. She was described as ‘generous, artistic and open-minded, and had a positive outlook on life.’

She is survived by her parents and two older siblings, a brother and sister.