COLUMBIA, Mo. - Mid-Missouri law enforcement are releasing more details about the murder of a Columbia woman.
Early Friday morning, the Cooper County Sheriff's Department announced they had arrested Bryant L. Holmes, Jr., 23, of Columbia, for the murder of 32-year-old Satina Beckner.
Beckner's body was found Wednesday morning on the side of a road in Cooper County, just south of Boonville.
Holmes has been charged with first-degree murder and armed criminal action. He is in the Cooper County Jail on a $500,000 bond.
He appeared in a Cooper County courtroom Friday for his first arraignment. Holmes pleaded not guilty to both charges against him.
Sheriff Jerry Wolfe says leads in the investigation pointed them to the Columbia-area and investigators worked with the Columbia Police Department. He said Columbia police were able to provide valuable information to Cooper County officials that led them to Holmes.
Satina's mother, Debra Hammons, told ABC 17 News she only saw Holmes with her daughter twice, but investigators said the pair had been in an on-again, off-again relationship for the past several years.
Hammons said when she heard the news initially about a woman's body being recovered, she got a terrible feeling.
"At five o'clock, I heard on the news that they had found an African-American woman and I knew deep down inside it was her," she said.
Sheriff Wolfe believes Holmes drove Beckner to the gravel road and beat her to death, however, he does not know the motive behind the murder.
Court documents state Beckner had injuries to her head.
One witness told investigators he heard Holmes in an argument on the phone with someone Tuesday night. The witness said Holmes left in his car around 8:30 p.m. and returned around 10 p.m.
The witness then told authorities that Holmes said he assaulted Beckner to the point where she's "not coming back" and she's "been taken care of." He also said he left her in a ditch.
The court documents show state investigators found the car with red mist on the outside and stains on the inside.
Friends of Beckner now say they need to focus on her four children, ages 6 to 13."
They have visited my house and have dined with us and it's very important that we make that we have something for these kids to do," said James Gray.
"It's about these kids and make sure that they have their education and college," said Hammons.
The family told ABC 17 News they are starting to plan Beckner's funeral.
Donations are being accepted through a fund set up at the Millard Funeral Home.
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