SPRINGFIELD, Missouri (TCD) — A 33-year-old man was recently sentenced to life in prison for the 2019 kidnapping and murder of a 34-year-old missing victim whose body has yet to be found.
According to Greene County District Attorney Dan Pattersona concerned citizen notified the Springfield Police Department of a possible murder after Dustin Winter forced the person to clean up a U-Haul van “which contained blood inside as well as a rope that was allegedly used to restrain the victim.
Authorities searched the van and reportedly found blood and DNA evidence matching the victim, Elijah Reynolds, who had been missing for several weeks, KOLR-TV reports.
The concerned citizen also turned over to the Springfield Police Department a bag he found labeled “Bell,” which contained “identification belonging to the victim,” Patterson said.
After further investigation, Patterson said Winter allegedly lured Reynolds to a house asking for help moving. Winter allegedly believed that Reynolds had assaulted someone he knew.
After luring the victim to a house, Patterson said Winter did several Google searches, including “Sulfuric acid on animals,” “Can acid dissolve a body?” and “55 gallon drum”.
In September 2022, Winter was convicted of first degree kidnapping and first degree murder. Several months later, on Friday, January 20, he was sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole, according to Patterson.
Two other people involved in the kidnapping and murder, William Skaggs, 25, and Kaleigh Pickle, 27, have already been convicted, KOLR reports.
Skaggs allegedly pleaded guilty to kidnapping and manslaughter and was sentenced to 10 years for kidnapping and five years for manslaughter.
Pickle was sentenced to five years in prison for kidnapping, reports KOLR.
The two were reportedly initially charged with second degree murder.
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