Man charged with murder in Callaway Co. child's death

Six-year-old boy reported missing before death investigation

Man charged with murder in 6-year-old's death

CALLAWAY COUNTY, Mo. - 27-year-old Scottie Willet is charged with first degree murder and armed criminal action following a homicide investigation in Callaway County.

Willet was taken into custody in Pettis County and released to Callaway County deputies Thursday afternoon. Willet's bond was set at $1 million cash-only.

According to court documents, 6-year-old Dane Hathman was reported missing Thursday morning from 7576 Primrose Lane off of County Road 318 in Callaway County.

An autopsy has not been completed on Hathman, but authorities believe he had Down Syndrome.

Investigators found Hathman deceased and hidden inside the home, with multiple gunshot wounds.

In a news conference, Callaway Sheriff Dennis Crane said Willet was a friend of Hathman's family, and had been living there since January. 

Crane mentioned Hathman's mother was not home at the time he was killed, and Willet was responsible for watching him. 

A helicopter went up about 3:15 a.m. Thursday searching for the child.  A little before 5:00, a sheriff's deputy blocked the driveway on Primrose.

Crane interviewed Willet at the Pettis County Sheriff's Department, where he admitted to shooting the boy with a .40 caliber handgun.

Crane said deputies were able to track a stolen vehicle to Sedalia by around 6:30 a.m. after putting out a statewide alert. The car apparently belonged to Hathman's mother. Willet was found at a female associate's house in Sedalia. The gun was also found inside the car.

Prior to living on Primrose Lane, his last known address was Rangeline Street in Columbia, where he was on probation for stealing.

Watch the full news conference from Callaway County Thursday afternoon here.

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