Monday, April 23, 2012

Justice Took a Long Time but Finally Here

Wow, Good Job Sheriff Dobbs and Butler County! A cold case that has been solved. It is so sad how people can hide something terribe like this for so long. Thank you for not giving up on finding answers. dar BUTLER COUNTY, MO (KFVS) - Investigators make a huge break in a Butler County cold case. Authorities arrested four people Thursday in connection with the 1999 murder of Carla Ann Austin. Investigators say probable cause exist that the four suspects conspired to kill Carla Ann Austin. Arrested are Austin's step-daughters, another member of her late husband's family and a family friend. Melissa Baggett, John Austin and Henry 'Marlin' Rice all of Qulin, along with Tracy Rea, of Neosho all face second degree murder charges. John Austin bonded out of jail early Thursday afternoon. Tracy Austin waived arraignment and pleaded not guilty on Friday. She is due back in court on May 10. Melissa Baggett waived arraignment, pleaded not guilty on Friday. She is due back in court on April 26. For Austin's biological daughters, this is a day they thought would never come. "I just can't believe it," said Mindy Crafford. "Justice can be served. You won't get away with this." Heartland News went along Thursday morning as Butler County Sheriff Mark Dobbs, deputies, members of the Highway Patrol and Qulin Police Department made arrests in Qulin. First, they took John Austin into custody, and then followed a few blocks later to arrest Henry 'Marlin' Rice at his apartment. Earlier in the day Tracy Rea was arrested in Neosho and just before 3 p.m., her sister Melissa Baggett of Butler County turned herself in. "This is definitely a complicated case because of the family dynamic," said Sheriff Dobbs. The arrests come nearly 13 years after Austin's murder. According to the sheriff statement, Carla Ann Austin was reported missing by her aunt on August 8, 1999. Hunters found her body a few months later in November. According to the probable cause, Carla Ann Austin's body was found around 30 yards from the tree line inside a patch of woods to the west of a field road. Authorities say she was positively identified through dental records. "I've just always wanted to know the truth," said Crafford. She was eight years old when her mother disappeared. "We always felt like the family was involved." Rest of the story on KFVS


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