Death of a Dream

An aspiring Broadway dancer is found murdered

Produced By Patti Aronofsky
This story originally aired May 12, 2007

Some children never lose that fantasy of making it big on Broadway. Catherine Woods was one of them.

"It was her dream. It's what she wanted to do. She wasn't going to be happy until she reached her goal, which was to dance on Broadway," remembers Catherine's friend Katie Miller. "She just looked like a dancer, looked like a star."

Katie and Catherine met as children in a Columbus, Ohio, dance studio. With her big smile and personality, Catherine was the image of the all-American Midwestern girl.

Catherine's father, Jon Woods-the well-known director of the Ohio State University marching band and a music professor-had hoped his oldest child would follow him into music.

But Catherine made it clear all she wanted to do was dance. "She told me that if she didn't leave now, she never would," her mother Donna recalls.

In the summer of 2002, when Catherine was just 17, her father and mother Donna, drove her to New York. They were filled with hope and anxiety.

"She had never lived away from home. I mean this was the true coming of age, going to the biggest city in the United States and going to start putting a career together," Donna explains.

For the next three years, Catherine seemed to thrive in New York, taking dance, voice and acting lessons, and on a visit back home, Catherine found love.

David Haughn, then a 20-year-old rap musician, was selling his CDs in a parking lot when he met Catherine. Weeks later, David moved to New York to be with her and pursue his career

In many ways they were an unlikely couple. Catherine grew up in middle class comfort with her parents and two younger siblings; David was raised in foster homes. "She made me feel confident about myself. I looked up to her so much, almost in a way as a parent," David says.

David says he and Catherine were "real serious," and had even thought about marriage.

But sometime in 2005, the relationship became strained. Catherine was paying David's bills and the money was tight. Finally, she broke it off with David although she allowed him to remain living in the apartment.

Catherine was 20 years old when she met 24-year-old Paul Cortez, a trainer at her gym. By early 2005, Paul says they were dating.

Asked if he thought David knew he existed, Paul says, "I don't think so. I think, you know, in that situation when one is just breaking up with someone else and you know, you're seeing someone new-I don't think so, I wouldn't think Catherine would tell him about me."

That summer, Paul unexpectedly showed up at the apartment while David was there and told David that he had been dating Catherine for almost a year.

How did David react? "He was upset," Paul remembers. "He was surprised."

But Paul got a surprise as well.

"Did you realize that David still thought they were boyfriend and girlfriend?" Moriarty asks.

"Yeah that's what he told me," Paul remembers. "And I was like, 'Ok, well that's not good.'"

Later, David called Paul. "Oh he was definitely angry. He was upset," Paul recalls.

Asked if David threatened him at any point," Paul says, "Yeah, he was like 'Don't see her again or else.'"

For the next four months, Catherine continued to live with David and secretly date Paul. But according to Katie, Catherine was still searching for true love.

"She'd say 'Why do I always get these guys? Why can't I find Mr. Right who rides up on a horse and comes and picks me up and we go riding off in the sunset,'" Katie remembers.