The Reporter covers Miller, Morgan and Camden County in Central Missouri's Lake of the Ozarks and is published once per week on Wednesdays.
Published December 26, 2018
2018: The Year in Review part 2
LAKE OF THE OZARKS – A number of important stories affected the lake area in 2018. The following is part two covering some of those issues reported on from July through December.
One dead in crash with logging truck
MILLER COUNTY – An accident involving a truck carrying logs has resulted in the death of a West Virginia man.
According to the Missouri State Highway Patrol (MSHP) last Monday (June 25) around 2:00 p.m., a 2003 International semi-tractor, driven by Greg Mathis, 46, of Oak Ford Illinois, was hauling logs northbound on Highway 17, 600 feet north of Saline Road, when the truck crossed the centerline where it was struck by a 1994 Mack dump truck, driven by Jonathan Hensley, 35, of Clarksburg, MO.
The logs then became unsecured and fell onto the roadway where they first struck a 2000 Dodge Ram, driven by Alford Franklin, 76, of Harrison, West Virginia. The Dodge Ram was forced off the right side of the road where it struck a tree and a fence.
The logs then struck a 2018 Nissan Versa, driven by Seth Graves, 44, of Fort Leonard Wood, MO.
Franklin was pronounced dead at the scene by Miller County Coroner Tim Bradley.
All the drivers were wearing their safety devices.
Osage Beach embraces Prescription Drug Monitoring Program
OSAGE BEACH – The city is moving forward in participating in a Prescription Drug Monitoring Program (PDMP) started by St. Louis County.
The Board of Aldermen passed the first reading last week with four aldermen for the program and two against - Kevin Rucker and Phylliss Marose voted no.
Rucker had several concerns which he voiced to the board and one of them was regarding privacy. The privacy of an individual, in his opinion, could be compromised with this bill.
In addition, he said this should be a state run program and not something that a local county should do.
Alderman Gregory Massey said that when comparing health and safety to privacy, health and safety is more important than an individual’s privacy.
The program is not run by the State of Missouri or is part of the state but is a program started by St. Louis County in conjunction with Appriss.
The PDMP will give information about drugs dispensed in the city limits to Appriss or to St. Louis County (and then on to Appriss). That information will clearly identify the person receiving the drugs and their name will be entered into the Appriss database.
Human remains identified, police seeking vehicle
MILLER COUNTY – The human remains found in Miller County last month have been identified as Tyler J. Worthington, 34, from the state of California
On Monday June 11 the Miller County Sheriff’s Department (MCSD) received information about human remains in a rural area of Miller County.
The MCSD, assisted by the Missouri State Highway Patrol Division of Drug and Crime Control, launched an investigation into the incident.
After an autopsy was completed on Wednesday June 13, investigators identified the human remains as a male individual that had been entered into the National Missing Persons Database.
Worthington’s family has been notified and the investigation is ongoing.
Storm downs trees, power lines, damages docks
CAMDEN COUNTY – Though there were no local fatalities last week with the storms that swept through the lake area, several docks and trees were damaged along with power lines.
At approximately 5:00 a.m. last Friday (July 20) the Mid-County Fire Protection District (MCFPD) was dispatched to several weather related emergency incidents in the Greenview area.
Firefighters arrived to find downed trees and power lines. The firefighters assisted with tree removal on the roads to gain access to the communities.
When the firefighters arrived on the scene, they found several damaged structures and boat docks.
Downed power lines were taped off to help ensured the safety of the citizens. No injuries were reported and all firefighters cleared the area at approximately 7:00 a.m.
Due to the fact that several boat docks in the area were damaged, firefighters later went by water and land to make sure all electrical power was turned off to damaged docks.
House explosion/fire sends woman to hospital
CAMDENTON – A woman has suffered serious burns after a house exploded last week.
Last Monday (July 23) around 8:12 a.m., the Mid-County Fire Protection District, (MCFPD) was dispatched to a reported residential house explosion and fire at 137 Illinois Street NE in Camdenton.
Firefighters arrived on scene at 8:13 a.m. to find a single-story duplex structure with heavy fire involvement in the right unit.
Firefighters began a fire attack using several hand lines, a deck gun and an aerial ladder. The fire was brought under control in approximately 30 minutes.
There was an adult female and a small child in the residence at the time of the fire. Both escaped the residence before firefighters arrived on scene.
The child was not injured but the adult female had serious burns and was transported from the scene to Lake Regional Hospital by the Camden County Ambulance District.
She was then flown to the University of Missouri Hospital in Columbia for treatment.
Miller County jails a jailer
MILLER COUNTY – A jailer has been arrested and charged with having sexual contact with a female prisoner.
On August 3, investigators with the Miller County Sheriff’s Department (MCSD) were provided information that a male Miller County detention officer was having inappropriate contact with a female inmate.
An investigation was started and the detention officer involved was identified as Samuel Evans.
According to the MCSD, multiple interviews were conducted in reference to the allegations and upon interviewing Evans, he admitted to having sexual contact with a female inmate while working.
Evans was placed under arrest following the interview and put on a 24 hour hold while charges were submitted to the prosecutor.
A warrant was issued for Evans and he was charged with the Class E Felony of Sexual Conduct with a prisoner or offender by Jail Employee, RSMO 566.145, with a $10,000 bond. Evans later posted the bond.
Man dead after shooting
MORGAN COUNTY – An investigation into the death of an individual is ongoing (as of press time).
On Sunday August 12 around 7 p.m., the Versailles Police Department was called to an address on West Williamson Street in regards to a male subject with a gunshot wound.
Upon arrival, officers found Justin Wittrock, 29, deceased from a single gunshot wound.
The Morgan County Sheriff’s Department (MCSD) was requested to assist Versailles Police with the investigation.
According to the MCSD, the girlfriend of Wittrock, Angela Keefe, 30, (who shared the home with Wittrock) has been charged with Felon in Possession of a firearm.
Keefe was taken to the Morgan County Adult detention center.
The autopsy on Wittrock was scheduled for August 14 but no results have been released as of press time.
Arrest made in double shooting
MILLER COUNTY – An Eldon man wanted for the possible shooting of two people has been arrested in Jefferson City.
According to the Miller County Sheriff’s Department (MCSD) during the evening hours of August 17, the Miller County Sheriff's Office received information from Lake Regional Hospital that they had two patients with gunshot wounds that had been transported to the hospital by private conveyance.
After deputies arrived at the hospital, they were able to obtain information on the crime scene location and the identity of the suspect shooter. The shooting occurred in the area of VFW Road in Miller County.
Through witness statements, a physical altercation allegedly occurred between the two victims and the suspect, which escalated in the suspect shooting the victims multiple times, the MCSD said.
The suspect who fled the area after the shooting had been identified as Devin Mckie, 18, from the Eldon area.
The next afternoon, Mckie was located and arrested in Jefferson City without incident.
He is being held at the Miller County Jail and has been charged with two counts of Assault 1st Degree Or Attempt - Serious Physical Injury Or Special Victim and two counts of armed criminal action. Bond has been set at $300,000.
Manhunt for Eldon man ends in hay barn
MILLER COUNTY – An Eldon man has been apprehended after a manhunt which lasted most of the day.
Last Tuesday afternoon (September 18) deputies from the Miller County Sheriff’s Department (MCSD) were dispatched to a domestic disturbance in the area of Route M and Adams Road.
The female victim was reporting that she had been physically assaulted and was being followed down the highway by the suspect in a black GMC pickup.
Once deputies arrived in the area they located the suspect driving the pickup. He then exited the vehicle and fled on foot.
Deputies pursued the suspect on foot until they lost sight of him in the dense forest.
Deputies identified the suspect as Gabriel Harris, 37 of Eldon, MO, who had several felony warrants for his arrest out of Miller and Camden counties.
A citizen later located Harris in the area of Adams Road and Bax Road.
According to the Missouri State Highway Patrol, at approximately 6 p.m., a trooper and a MCSD deputy located the subject lying down inside a hay barn. When spotted, the subject went further into the barn and hid between some round hay bales.
With the assistance of local farmers and their equipment (and after removing over half the round bales in the barn) Harris was located hiding between the hay bales where he was taken into custody at 11:29 p.m. without incident.
One pound of meth seized
CAMDEN COUNTY – A search warrant has turned up over a pound of alleged methamphetamine, weapons and drug paraphernalia.
Last Thursday, officers with the Lake Area Narcotics Enforcement Group and deputies from the Camden County Sheriff’s Department (CCSD) executed a search warrant at a residence on the west side of Camdenton.
According to the CCSD, as a result of the search warrant, over a pound of crystal methamphetamine, marijuana, a variety of firearms and drug paraphernalia used in the distribution and consumption of controlled substances were seized.
Jerold Ray Smith, 57, of Normac Ridge Road, was arrested and charged with a Class A Felony of trafficking drugs or attempt to traffic and a Class D Felony of possession of a controlled substance.
Smith is being held at the Camden County Adult Detention Center on a bond of $1,000,000 cash only.
Chicago man charged with murder
MILLER COUNTY – A Chicago man has been charged in the murder of a man whose body was found in June of this year.
On Monday June 11, the Miller County Sheriff’s Department (MCSD) received information about human remains in a rural area of Miller County.
The MCSD, assisted by the Missouri State Highway Patrol Division of Drug and Crime Control, launched an investigation into the incident.
After an autopsy was completed on Wednesday June 13, investigators identified the human remains as Tyler J. Worthington, 34, from the state of California.
Worthington had been entered into the National Missing Persons Database.
Based on information and witness statements gathered during the investigation, Miller County Prosecutor Ben Winfrey issued an arrest warrant for Joseph P. McKenna of Chicago, Illinois.
McKenna was taken into custody without incident for the murder of Worthington.
McKenna is being held on a $750,000 bond for 2nd degree murder and is awaiting extradition.
Macks Creek man arrested, charged in double murder
DALLAS COUNTY – A Macks Creek man has been arrested in connection with a double murder in a Dallas County shootout.
According to the Dallas County Sheriff’s Department (DCSD) on Sunday, September 30, DCSD deputies were dispatched to a home in Tunas, MO. Once on the scene, officers found two homeowners, Joe and Brandy Allen, deceased outside the residence.
“It appears that during the early morning hours of this same date, the homeowners interrupted an attempted robbery/invasion,” a DCSD spokesman said. “The homeowners engaged in a gun battle with the intruders, resulting in the loss of their lives.”
DCSD put out a notice that they were looking for the victim’s missing vehicle, a 2006 Silver Chevy Silverado single cab with dark gray/black fender flares with Missouri license plate 9YX 415.
Last Wednesday night (October 3) officers from DCSD and the Lake Area Major Case Squad arrested Jeffrey Dale Lee Stevenson, 22, of Macks Creek, in the murders of the Allens.
Stevenson is charged with two counts of murder in the second degree, armed criminal action, burglary in the second degree and stealing. He was being held in the Camden County jail with no bond.
Police began to search for a second suspect, Billy Sage Medley, 22. On October 8, Laclede County officials received a tip that led law enforcement to a residence in Pauls Valley, Oklahoma.
Billy Sage Medley was arrested without incident in the early morning hours the next day (October 9).
Medley has been charged with the following crimes:
• Two counts of Murder in the 2nd Degree
• One count of Burglary in the 2nd Degree
• One count of Stealing - Motor Vehicle/Watercraft/Aircraft
• One count of Armed Criminal Action
• One count of Unlawful Possession Of A Firearm
Arson ruled in 5-81 motel fire, man arrested
CAMDEN COUNTY – A two-alarm fire at the 5-81 Motel/apartments last Wednesday morning has been ruled arson and an arrest has been made in the case.
On October 17, at 9:02 a.m., the Mid-County Fire Protection District (MCFPD) was dispatched to a reported commercial structure fire at the 5-81 Motel/Apartment complex on Old Route 5 just north of Camdenton.
Firefighters arrived to find heavy fire involvement on the first and second floors of the structure. The fire was brought under control in approximately 45 minutes.
An investigation led to the arrest of Rocco Vaglica, 45, of Camdenton, MO.
Vaglica has been charged with Arson 1st Degree (felony) and was being held on a $250,000 cash bond.
Unknown coffin discovered during recent burial
ROACH – An unmarked grave has been discovered during a recent burial at the historic Roach Cemetery.
During a recent burial the gravedigger hit the side of a black metal coffin while digging a grave for a new burial. Local historian Merle Cross was on scene when the incident occurred and stated that just the corner of the casket was uncovered.
No further uncovering of the casket took place.
The new burial site was moved away from the casket with the unknown occupant.
The graves in the cemetery are part of the history of the county and came from various cemeteries that were moved for the flooding of the area once Bagnell Dam was completed.
Woman critical after hit and run
MORGAN COUNTY – A Morgan County woman is in critical condition after an alleged hit and run accident last week.
On Sunday evening October 28, around 11:00 p.m. Stover officers and Morgan County Deputies were called to the scene of a subject lying in a business driveway.
The victim was identified as Candice Akin, 28, of Stover. Akin had extensive injuries and was transported to University of Missouri Medical Center by Staff for Life helicopter.
Akin was diagnosed with a critical brain injury and is currently on life support. According to the Morgan County Sheriff’s Department, the investigation revealed that Akin had been struck by a vehicle that then left the scene.
Officers and Deputies were able to identify the suspect vehicle and driver from video surveillance provided by area businesses.
Armed suspect chased from Eldon to Sedalia
MILLER/MORGAN COUNTIES – A chase that started south of Eldon ended east of Sedalia when the vehicle wrecked into a ditch thanks to punctured tires.
Last Tuesday (November 13) at approximately 10:25 a.m., the Miller County Sheriff’s Department received a report of a stolen vehicle south of Eldon.
According to the information received, the vehicle was allegedly stolen at gunpoint.
Deputies from the Morgan County Sheriff’s Department responded to Highway 52 east to watch for the described vehicle.
At around 10:45 a.m. the vehicle was observed on Highway 52 in Morgan County traveling westbound from Big Rock Road.
Morgan County Deputies attempted to stop the vehicle near Highway 52 and Brookside Road but, according to Morgan County, the vehicle failed to yield and continued westbound on Highway 52.
Other deputies had staged at the Save A Lot store in Versailles and attempted to deploy stop sticks but the vehicle took evasive action to avoid the stop sticks.
The vehicle then traveled to Highway 5 at which time it proceeded north towards Fortuna.
Various efforts were made to deploy stop sticks and eventually the effort paid off. Just east of Rissler Road and US 50 near the east city limits of Sedalia a final try was made.
The suspect attempted to avoid those stop sticks at which time he lost control of the vehicle and spun out into the south ditch of US 50 at Rissler Road.
The driver was then taken into custody without further incident. According to law enforcement, located inside the vehicle was a Smith and Wesson pistol and approximately three pounds of high grade marijuana.
Arrested was Kayondez Ronelle Avalo, 18, of Belton, MO, who was charged in Morgan County with various charges and was being held on a $150,000 Cash Only bond in the Morgan County Jail.
He was also charged in Miller County with Robbery 1st Degree and Armed Criminal Action and a warrant was issued with a $200,000 bond.
Murder charges filed
MILLER COUNTY – A Tuscumbia man has been arrested and charged with Second Degree Murder in the death of a Barnett man.
According to the Miller County Sheriff’s Department (MCSD) during the late evening hours of Monday December 3, deputies were dispatched to the 2100 block of Highway 52 outside Tuscumbia for a shooting.
After arriving, deputies located a victim that was found deceased from a single gunshot wound to the chest. He was later identified as Dalton Cain Bishop, 18, of Barnett, MO.
During the investigation, Larry Micah Matthews, 41, of Tuscumbia, MO, was identified as the alleged shooter.
Matthews was transported to the Miller County Sheriff’s Office and interviewed.
Prosecuting Attorney Benjamin Winfrey subsequently charged Matthews with Murder in the Second Degree, a Class A Felony, and Armed Criminal Action, an Unclassified Felony.
Matthews is currently being held at the Miller County Adult Detention Center in lieu of a $500,000 bond.
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