Aiken County, South Carolina – The investigation of the murder of 74-year-old Louis “Baker” Cochran and his wife, 70-year-old Sandra Cochran continues. Officials still have not named any suspects in the case. The couple does not have any children together, but Louis Cochran’s daughter is en route to Aiken County from Arizona. Aiken County Coroner, Tim Carlton says they are still searching for Sandra Cochran’s next of kin.
Meanwhile, the issue remains what to do with the Cochran’s six horses. Now a local rescue group is stepping up to help. WJBF News Channel 6’s Stefany Bornman was in Jackson, S.C., when the horses were taken off the property. It was an eventful Friday morning for the Aiken Equine Rescue group. They had to cut down the wire fence to enter the property and load the horses. The Managing Director and a group of three others moved the animals on Friday. The group says the key to transporting horses is trust.
“These were good people. They did not deserve what they got. They are no longer with us, but they needed help with their animals.” Jim Rhodes, Vice President and Managing Director of Aiken Equine Rescue said.
“Come one good girl, good girl. You’re okay.” Rhodes whispered to the horses as he tried to lure them into the trailer. Aiken County asked the Equine Rescue of Aiken to temporarily take possession of the six horses on the Cochran Estate.
“This situation is kind of unique because it was a tragic.. tragedy involved. So there had to be immediate action taken,” Rhodes told WJBF News Channel 6. “We are treating them as if they are feral.” On Friday, one by one, the horses were loaded up with only one small obstacle, “the baby won’t let us put our hands on them. The rest of them we’ve already kind of touched,” to be taken to their new foster home.
Aiken Equine Rescue Adoption Coordinator Caroline Mulstay, silently formed a bond with these creatures… enough of a connection to get them all on the trailer safely. “Horses are natural followers and so if they see you taking the leading position. They are pretty likely to just go right with the flow,” Mulstay said.
“You know whatever happens in the estate, or whatever happens in all that stuff, there’s one thing that they don’t need to do… is have to worry about proper care for their horses.” Rhodes said. But this is not the first time this group has taken in rescues from cases like this one. Although the Cochran’s horses are a reminder of the life the couple left behind, their animals are in good hands.
“And hopefully we will get them homes and they might be show horses or trail horses or they might go and be somebody’s pastor mate, but these horses have a pretty positive future ahead of them.” Mulstay told WJBF News Channel 6.
Besides a small grant the Aiken Equine Rescue received they are fully funded by the community donations. Rhodes says it takes $1,700 dollars a day just to run the facility. To learn more about the organization, to apply to be a volunteer, or to make a monetary contribution please visit www.aikenequinerescue.org.