Slain teacher allegedly tangled in drug plot, Chicago

March 28, 2001
(CHICAGO) – Investigators say that a Chicago teacher was kidnapped and killed because a drug dealer was trying to retrieve money and cocaine her adopted son had stolen.

Four people have been charged with the murder of Wardella Winchester. They include the alleged dealer, Charles Washington Jr., 37, and Brandon Cordell, 23, Mark Prude, 35, and Dyanna Winchester, 19. Dyanna Winchester is the daughter of the teacher’s husband by another woman.

Dyanna Winchester allegedly played a double role. Investigators say that she told her stepbrother, Larry Holcombe, in January that Washington was holding money and drugs, and later, upset with her share of the proceeds and afraid for her life, told Washington that he could get the $750,000 and 40 kilograms of cocaine back by kidnapping Holcombe’s adoptive mother.

At a hearing Tuesday, prosecutors said that Wardella Winchester had learned of Holcombe’s actions and had attempted to hide the money and to protect him by sending him out of the city. She was abducted on March 16 and found dead a few days later.

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