Produced By Patti Aronofsky
In July 2002, 18-year-old Catherine Woods left her home in Columbus, Ohio, to find fame in the footlights of Broadway. But three and a half years later, Catherine tragically made her name in New York as a murder victim.
Correspondent Erin Moriarty reports.
Catherine's parents, Jon and Donna Woods, still remember driving their daughter to New York. "So it wasn't easy for us to drop her off there and put her on her own. But we did, and she loved it," Jon remembers.
After the killing, her parents faced the difficult task of returning to Catherine's apartment to pick up their daughter's belongings. "Probably the toughest thing I've ever done. We talked about Catherine coming to New York with a dream," Jon says.
One of Catherine's closest friends, Emily Pettigrew, says Catherine was the most beautiful person inside and out, with a love for dance. "It was always what I knew her as, as Catherine the dancer," says Emily.
Catherine's first ballet teacher, Mary Rose Bushroe, says that even at an early age, Catherine had all the right moves. "She knew she was going to be a ballerina," Mary Rose recalls.
Catherine grew up in the spotlight. In Columbus, where Ohio State Football is sacred, her dad is a revered figure, as the director of the OSU marching band.
Jon Woods admits he expected Catherine, the oldest of his three children, to follow him into music. "She accommodated us by playing the baritone horn in sixth, seventh, eighth grade but when we hit ninth grade, that was the end of the baritone horn and she decided dance was it," he says.
Neither Jon nor Donna was happy when Catherine announced at the end of high school that she was going to New York instead of college. "She told me that if she didn't leave now, she never would," Donna remembers.
In New York, Catherine was just another talented aspiring dancer, willing to do anything to get that one big break on Broadway. The city was far more expensive and lonelier than she expected.
Catherine would go home often and on one of those trips, met David Haughn at a pool hall. David, then a 20-year-old Columbus rap musician, was selling his CDs in the pool hall parking lot and within months moved to New York and into Catherine's apartment.
"I remember the phone conversation. She was like 'He's going to live with me. He's moving. He's giving up everything. I'm so excited,' " explains childhood friend Megan Wilkins.
Megan says she loved David. "He's a very nice guy. I love David. I think of him as my brother."
But David and Catherine were, in some ways, an unlikely couple. She was raised in middle class comfort by a loving family, while David's mother struggled with drugs and he grew up in foster homes.
David says being with Catherine made him feel as though he had a family again. "She made me feel confident about myself. I looked up to her so much, almost in a way as a parent," he says.
David got a job as a doorman working nights, while Catherine worked various part-time jobs to pay for her voice, acting and dance lessons.
David says he and Catherine's relationship was "real serious" and that the topic of marriage had surfaced. "I'd say we thought about it. I don't think it was anytime soon. She asked me numerous times 'Are you gonna marry me?' " he recalls.
"It was off and on at first. I knew they were very serious. And then the last little while it was 'Well, I don't know, yes, no, maybe so,' " says Katie Miller, who met Catherine at the dance studio and took lessons with her throughout their childhood.
Finally last fall, Catherine broke off the relationship. Still, David and Catherine remained friends and he was still living with her on Thanksgiving weekend of 2005.