The first sign that something was wrong concerning a young Medford mother came when she didn’t show up at a family birthday party, a family friend testified Thursday at the trial of the man charged with raping and killing her.
It was June 7, 2014, and Sarah Goode, 21, didn’t come to her nephew’s party, said Elias Genovese, a friend and neighbor.
“My son and Sarah’s daughter played on the trampoline,” he said during questioning by Assistant District Attorney Lawrence Opisso.
Two days later, after Goode’s BMW was found abandoned and bloodstained about a mile from her house, Genovese said he was one of more than 50 family and friends who took part in searches for her every day.
The night of June 12, he joined a search party at the end of Camden Court, a short cul-de-sac in Medford that ended in some woods, less than a mile from where her car was found.
“Seventy or 80 feet in, I saw something — I thought it was a deer,” he said. “When I got closer, I realized it was a female body.”
Authorities later determined it was Goode. Suffolk County prosecutors say she was raped and stabbed more than 40 times in and near her car. Dante Taylor, 20, of Mastic, is on trial, charged with first-degree murder, before state Supreme Court Justice John Collins.
At about the same time the birthday party was taking place on June 7, Suffolk police Officer Keith Boles said a Medford resident asked him to check on a car parked on Fire Avenue. It was parked next to some woods, not in front of houses on the other side of the street.
Boles said he noticed the license plates were folded over, so he checked to see if the car was stolen. It wasn’t, and he said he found out the car was Goode’s. He went to her house, but he said nobody answered the door.
The next night, on June 8, he saw the car there again while on patrol and this time decided to look at it more closely. For the first time, he walked on the passenger side of the car and saw a large clump of hair caught between the door and the pillar — and what appeared to be blood nearby.
“Oh God,” a family member whispered, when a photo of it — about the size of a pony tail — was displayed in the courtroom.
Boles said he then noticed blood on the pavement and saw some inside the car, too.
During cross-examination by defense attorney John Lewis Jr. of Farmingdale, Boles said he didn’t pay attention to the hood of the car, even when he reached to unfold the front license plate.
Later Thursday, forensic scientist Thomas Zaveski of the Suffolk Crime Laboratory testified that he noticed a hand print left in blood on the hood.
During questioning by Assistant District Attorney Janet Albertson, he inventoried apparent bloodstains inside the car, too.
There was blood on the ceiling, in the foot wells, on the right front seat and on the seat back, Zaveski said.
After a black jacket was removed from the center console, Zaveski said he found blood pooled inside the storage compartment under the armrest and in the cup holders, and blood on the gear shift.
On the driver’s seat, Zaveski said he found a woman’s ring. In her opening statement, Albertson said it was Goode’s.
During a break in testimony, a court officer supervisor spoke to Goode’s family and reminded them that placards or signs on their cars calling for justice for Goode must be kept at least 200 feet from the courthouse. Collins earlier in the case said he hoped no one would attempt to influence jurors.