SAN ANTONIO – When law enforcement officers in Northern California took Bradford Hudson into custody late last year, the family of Martha Batchelor believed the man who killed and sexually assaulted her inside her northwest San Antonio apartment in 2013 would finally face justice.
The evidence against Hudson was strong, according to case records obtained by the KSAT 12 Defenders.
Batchelor, 53, was found dead by a maintenance worker inside her apartment in the 4900 block of Woodstone Drive in July 2013.
Authorities said Batchelor was awakened around 4:30 in the morning by someone knocking at her door or coming into the apartment. Police said Batchelor tried to call 911 but was likely overpowered by the man in her bedroom, in a scene that was described at the time as “heinous.”
A DNA sample taken from Batchelor’s apartment was entered into a national database, where it remained for six years.
That sample matched Hudson, whose DNA was entered into the same database last summer after he was arrested for family violence in California.
Hudson, 60, also lived in the same apartment complex as Batchelor at the time of her killing, according to an arrest warrant for Hudson.
Hudson was extradited to San Antonio late last year, and Batchelor’s family said updates on the case were transferred from the San Antonio Police Department to the Bexar County District Attorney’s Office.
“They had my cellphone number; they had my email. I’m always accessible,” said Becky O’Connell, Batchelor’s younger sister, who took over as the family’s point of contact last summer and has kept people who live in several states updated on the case.
However, O’Connell said after the DA’s office took over providing updates, she was only given sporadic information about the case.
When prosecutors dismissed the capital murder charge against Hudson in March, and he was able to be released from jail in April, O’Connell says she learned about it on the news.
“I kept on reiterating, ‘Why was I not contacted?‘” said O’Connell, describing her conversation with an assistant district attorney assigned to the case when she finally reached him earlier this month.
“I guess it just fell through the cracks,” she said.
DA officials have not said much about the case against Hudson being dismissed.
A spokeswoman in late April said via email simply that the case had been dismissed for further investigation.
The Defenders made three requests to interview District Attorney Joe Gonzales about Batchelor’s family’s concerns, but have so far not heard back or been provided a written statement.
More DNA testing?
The dismissal filed in Hudson’s case states that there are pending DNA results.
A source familiar with the investigation said a DNA sample has been sent to the University of North Texas for testing, but as of last week, there was no update on whether the case against Hudson would be refiled.
Officials have not said why the case requires additional DNA testing beyond the sample that investigators already believe placed Hudson at the crime scene.
SAPD officials declined to make the lead investigator in the case available for an interview, claiming that it could jeopardize it.
“She was a great sister. We were very close growing up together,” said O’Connell, who has now asked for weekly updates from the DA’s office on where the case stands.
Hudson was charged with misdemeanor assault for an unrelated incident that took place while he was in jail, court records show.
His next court appearance in that case is scheduled for late August.