“Dead North”: How Police Chief Laura Frizzo Sacrificed All To Catch Convicted Killer Kelly Cochran
IRON RIVER, MI — On October 27, 2014, Iron River Police Chief Laura Frizzo acted on a tip regarding Chris Regan, 51-year-old local man had gone missing two weeks earlier.
In short order, Frizzo’s search would expose a deadly love triangle, serial murder, and even allegations of cannibalism. It’s also believed to have cost Chief Frizzo her job — a toll she said she endured in the ultimate pursuit of justice.
When officers found Chris Regan’s abandoned car, it contained a note with handwritten directions to the home of married couple (above, main photo) Kelly Cochran, 31, and Jason Cochran, 35, in nearby Caspian, Michigan.
From the get-go, the Cochrans acted shady. Jason told the cops who rang their doorbell that Kelly wasn’t home, immediately after which Kelly bounded down the stairs spouting an excuse to cover for her husband’s lie.
The following morning, Detective Sergeant Jeremy Ogden interviewed the Cochrans individually while Chief Frizzo watched on a monitor and filled out paperwork for search warrants. Ogden got quite a story out of them.
The Cochrans each told Ogden that after Jason battled cancer several years earlier, he could no longer function sexually. As a result, Kelly pursued amorous relationships outside the marriage. Chris Regan had become her primary side boyfriend.
According to Kelly, Jason knew of the affair and was cool with it. Jason said he knew of the affair and that, no, he wasn’t cool with it, but he decided he’d just have to put up with the situation in order to stay married.
Both Cochrans denied having any knowledge of what might have happened to Chris Regan. Alas, Chief Frizzo didn’t buy what the duo was claiming, later telling the press:
“By the end of their interviews, I was convinced they were involved.”
Frizzo would spend the next two years working that hunch in the face of intense resistance from her superiors — and she would prove to be gruesomely spot-on.
In fact, the Cochrans’ involvement with Chris Regan’s disappearance proved absolutely lethal. On October 13, Jason had erupted in jealous rage at Kelly and told her to lure Regan to their home with the promise of sex. She did.
Once Regan got there, Jason fatally shot the man who was sleeping with his wife — a man who was also an Iraq War veteran and father of two.
After the killing, the Cochrans dismembered Regan’s body and hid the pieces in the woods — although Kelly has since been accused of butchering some of her ex-lover’s remains and serving them as meat to friends and family members at a barbecue.
While the cannibalism allegations remain unsubstantiated, the Cochrans actually did such a thorough job of covering their tracks that the trail surrounding Chris Regan went cold for 18 months.
Still, Chief Frizzo always believed the couple knew what became of Regan, and she kept after them, no matter what it might potentially cost her professionally — even after Kelly and Jason just abandoned their home in 2015 and very suddenly relocated to Northwest Indiana.
Detective Sergeant Ogden still admires how Frizzo stuck to her guns in the face of flack from higher-ups. He said:
“People told her she was completely wrong. They told her, ‘Jason and Kelly didn’t do this.’ I knew she was right. When I started reading documents and watching videos, I knew she was right. I just knew it was going to be hard to get (Kelly) to tell us.”
In time, though, Kelly did talk. It happened in 2016, after Jason Cochran suddenly died of what initially appeared to be a heart attack.
Jason’s autopsy revealed how he actually expired: Kelly had intentionally injected him with a fatal overdose of heroin and then smothered his face with a pillow to hasten his demise.
In light of that damning medical report, Kelly finally cracked and confessed to her part in Chris Regan’s death, as well as to murdering Jason.
Kelly also explained that she killed Jason over his “forcing” her to lead Chris Regan to his death, lamenting that lost romance as “the only good thing” in her life.
After coming clean, Kelly even led Chief Frizzo to the forest where searchers dug up Regan’s skull and other bone fragments.
What Kelly did not indicate, however, is that she may be involved in as many as nine murders, and that she potentially left a wake of bodies buried in Michigan, Indiana, Tennessee, and Minnesota.
Those allegations would come from her brother Colton Gaboyan in 2017 — as well as what many observers say is the disgustingly credible possibility that she fed Chris Regan’s remains to her guests at a cookout.
Kelly Cochran is presently serving life in prison plus 65 years for the murders of Chris Regan and Jason Cochran. Inquiries into her other alleged crimes continue.
In the meantime, Chief Laura Frizzo is out of a job — reportedly as a result of her repeated clashes with police brass and government officials over how to handle detective work in general and how she (successfully) approached the Kelly Cochran case in particular.
Iron River City Manager David Thayer branded Frizzo “bullheaded” and said her “management style and professional standards” were entirely incompatible with his own. Through her attorney, Frizzo countered that Thayer was “confrontational” and displayed “a history of animosity toward women and police.”
Regardless, on December 9, 2017, the Iron River City Council relieved Frizzo of her duties as police chief. She has since filed suit against the city for damages and to regain her position.
With impeccably chilling timing — i.e., just after Chief Frizzo got fired — Kelly Cochran is said to have alluded to hiding the corpses of still more “friends” in shallow graves throughout Michigan’s Upper Peninsula area and, possibly, beyond.
Dead North, a four-part documentary airing on Investigation Discovery, chronicles the crimes of Kelly Cochran and the relentless quest for truth mounted by Chief Laura Frizzo — a task she continues to pursue just as tirelessly today, outside the police force.
On the topic of Investigation Discovery’s Dead North, Laura Frizzo said:
“I’m so grateful that justice was served for Chris Regan, but I firmly believe that there are other victims out there. With new leads regarding their whereabouts, I’m hoping this series will shed light on the case and allow me to finish the investigation I started.”
Dead North, a two-night special, premieres Sunday, May 28 at 9/8c on Investigation Discovery!
Then, on May 29, watch the companion special series, Dead North: The Interrogation, on ID GO! Taken from dozens of hours of interrogation tapes, this is the serialized story of how Indiana Detective Jeremy Ogden interrogated and flipped suspected killer Kelly Cochran into copping to at least one murder, and possibly more.
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