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2 men arrested in attempted murder of man linked to woman found dead in vacant New Orleans Naval base

Members of the Clovis, N.M., Police Department's Special Weapons and Tactics team handcuff a U.S. airman during a hostile threat exercise at Cannon Air Force Base, N.M., June 20, 2012. (Airman 1st Class Eboni Reece/U.S. Air Force)

A man was stabbed, beaten to within inches of his life and left for dead in a remote spot off Bayou Paquet Road outside of Slidell last month.

Three days later, a woman he had dated was found with a bullet in the back of her head at the abandoned U.S. Navy base in New Orleans near the Industrial Canal.

Police in both cities acknowledged Tuesday that they are investigating whether Brooke Buchler’s killing is related to what police say was the kidnapping and attempted murder of the man with whom she had a relationship.

And while two men have been arrested in the stabbing, investigators stopped short of saying the pair were also suspects in the death of Buchler.

The violent chain of events began early on the morning of Aug. 20 at an apartment in the 1800 block of Fifth Street, near the city of Slidell’s Olde Towne section, where Buchler had been with the victim of the stabbing, according to police.

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Slidell Police alleged that Dylan Craddock, 27, and Cody Matthews, 32, “severely beat and stabbed” the man who had been with Buchler at that apartment and then tried to dump his body amid the empty tracts of pine and marshland at the western edge of Slidell.

But the man survived, found help and was taken to a hospital, said Slidell Police Sgt. Daniel Seuzeneau, who didn’t discuss a possible motive in the alleged attack.

Buchler was then reported to police as missing from the same Fifth Street apartment, Seuzeneau said. The search for her ended on the night of Aug. 23, when a man squatting at the vacant Naval Support Activity complex in the 800 block of Poland Avenue in New Orleans’ Bywater neighborhood stumbled across a lifeless Buchler.

The door frame leading to the room where Buchler’s body was found had a bloody handprint, police wrote in a report. A long metal pipe was tangled in Buchler’s hair, and there was a bullet-sized hole in the back of her head, the report said.

A pathologist later determined that hole was a gunshot wound, and the Orleans Parish Coroner’s Office ruled that Buchler’s death was a homicide.

The man who dated Buchler has since been released from the hospital and is recovering while police last week jailed Craddock and Matthews as suspects in the case, Seuzeneau said.

Craddock and Matthews face one count each of attempted murder and second-degree kidnapping, and they remained behind bars Tuesday in lieu of $400,000 bail.

Each could face between 10 and 50 years in prison if convicted of attempting to murder Buchler’s boyfriend. Meanwhile, second-degree kidnapping can carry between five years and 40 years in prison.

Buchler’s family has received an outpouring of condolences following news of Buchler’s death. She attended Slidell High School and more recently worked as a server at the popular Olde Towne restaurant Tacos & Beer. A newspaper obituary for Buchler said she loved books, music, movies and road trips.

“Her friends and family never had a dull moment when she was in the room,” the obituary said.

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© 2020 The Times-Picayune | The New Orleans Advocate