Autopsy report reveals gruesome death of aspiring funeral director

(Rachael Anderson. Courtesy: Anderson family photo)

Aspiring funeral director Rachael Anderson died from stabbed wounds to her head and neck, according to an autopsy report from the Franklin County Coroner's Office.

Anderson, 24, was also strangled, the report showed.

Her accused killer, Anthony Pardon, had a hearing in Franklin County Common Pleas Court Tuesday morning, but Pardon didn't make an appearance in the courtroom.

Franklin County Prosecutor Ron O'Brien requested a court order be issued to obtain all relevant records from the Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Correction in preparation for an anticipated trial.

A subpoena wouldn't make the documents available, O'Brien said.

Pardon, 53, has been indicted by a grand jury on charges including aggravated murder, aggravated robbery, aggravated burglary, kidnapping, and rape. He was identified as a suspect shortly after Anderson was found dead in January, when police say DNA collected from a sexual assault kit and the crime scene showed them a match in the CODIS database.

Anderson was a student at Youngstown State University, and she moved to Columbus for an apprenticeship at Shaw-Davis funeral homes.

Officers found her body in a bedroom closet at her apartment when co-workers called police because they were concerned she hadn't arrived at work.

Investigators said they believe Pardon got into her apartment, and he waited for her to arrive home.

If convicted, then Pardon faces the possibility of the death penalty.

Court records show Pardon has a violent criminal past, including the rape of an infant as a 15-year-old, and the kidnapping, rape, and attempted murder of a Columbus woman less than two years later. He was convicted of that crime and went to prison for 25 years. He faced charges in 2007 of forgery and failure to register as a sex offender in Georgia, according to court records.

ABC 6/FOX 28 will continue to follow this developing story.

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