The last person to hear from Rochelle Battle was her mother, LaTarsha Cockey. It was in the month of March 2009 when the 16-year-old made a call at 10:00 p.m. to tell her mother that she had taken the subway to East Baltimore because she wanted to drop by the Eastpoint Mall. Rochelle assured her mother that she wouldn’t be out late and would be home as soon as she was finished.
However, whether Rochelle Battle was truly on her way to go shopping remains a mystery, because the call she made to her mother wasn’t the last call she dialed that evening. The teen rang a friend and told her that she was with a “White friend” of hers, leaving many to believe the mall story was a ruse…and that “White friend” may have been 34-year-old Jason Matthew Gross, a local acquaintance of Rochelle’s.
As it grew later into the night, Rochelle’s mother began to worry. She repeatedly called her daughter, but there was no answer. The first call rang until it went to voicemail, but when she tried again, it was evident that the phone was turned off. Yet, after Rochelle Battle was reported missing, authorities were able to track her phone and pinpoint that around 9:00 p.m. she was with Gross, as the two were in the exact same area.
As the investigation developed, there were witnesses who stated that they observed Rochelle exiting an MTA bus. It was ultimately Rochelle’s phone that led her family, and investigators, to Gross’s home.
According to Gross, who has previous convictions for sex offenses and assault, he met Rochelle online in an adult chatroom and solicited her for sex. He said the two agreed to meet at a bar near his rental home but he claims she never showed for the appointment. Detectives believed that Gross wasn’t telling the truth and that Rochelle did meet up with Gross where he had sex with or possibly sexually assaulted the teenager before killing her. Many think that Gross disposed of Rochelle’s body in the industrial incinerator he had behind the home.
In April 2010, Gross was arrested in connection with the disappearance and death of Rochelle Battle. He vehemently denied that he had any involvement with the teenager, but his pleas fell on deaf ears. The father of four was convicted of Rochelle’s murder and was sentenced to 30 years in prison. Gross received an additional 10 years for unrelated sexual offenses against another victim.
LaTarsha was able to address the court, and Gross, when she wrote her victim impact statement, but it was Rochelle’s father, Marvin Battle, who read it aloud. She acknowledged that her daughter had her faults, but her life was taken before she could have remedied her mistakes. She also said that her daughter wanted to one day become a business owner and loved writing poetry and cooking.
Gross’s sister Angela spoke up on her brother’s behalf, as did a longtime family friend, Elizabeth Bennet. They both have been vocal about Gross’s innocence and claim that he is an excellent father and standup citizen, regardless of the sexual assault allegations and conviction.
“I’ve known Jason for twenty years and don’t believe he did this,” Bennett said. “I trust him implicitly. I’ve even let him watch my young niece.”
Rochelle Battle has never been found and her body has never been recovered.
Please share this article to continue the discussion about what happened to Rochelle Battle. She is our sister and her life matters.
The Charley Project
Terri Mozze, 42: Last Seen Getting Into A Taxi In 2001
She lived with Parkinson’s Disease and reportedly had trouble walking.
The exact circumstances surrounding the disappearance of Terri Mozze are unclear, and like many others, little has been shared about her case. I did my best to find personal information about Terri, her family, her employment, or what she may have been doing in those days prior to her going missing, but it did not prove to be fruitful. (more…)
Chaka Wood, 32: No Developments In 2017 Missing Person Case
Paige Coffey, 27: Last Seen At A Retail Store In 2019
Orleans Parish Jane Doe: Remains Recovered Under A House In 1998
Paula Daniels, 19: Last Seen At Home In Los Angeles In 1981
Lisa Flowers, 23: Disappeared From Wisconsin In 1991
Julii Johnson Was Killed In A Murder-For-Hire Plot By Boyfriend’s Ex-Girlfriend 
Tynisha Ysais Killed By Rapper Roommate Who Ate Parts Of Her Body Raw
Jackie Neal, Blues Singer, Was Killed By Her Ex-Boyfriend In 2005
Tyarra Williams, 19, Was In Her Apartment Complex When She Vanished In 2016
Bridget Shiel Killed Running From Murderer, DNA Yields Suspect
2020s1 month ago
Brittany Palmer, 23: Vanished After Visiting Friend’s Mother In 2020
2010s1 month ago
Mariah Edwards, 17: Suspected To Be Victim Of Serial Killer
1980s1 month ago
Sheketah Brown, 10: Father Admitted To Killing Entire Family In 1985
2020s1 month ago
Asia Wilbon, 16: Last Seen Going To Bed At Home In 2020