Crime

Human remains found in Cole County after inmate leads to buried body

COLE COUNTY, Mo. - The Cole County Sheriff's Office found human remains on Thursday after a Cole County Jail inmate told authorities where a body was buried. 

The inmate told a Cole County detective on Wednesday that he knew where a body was buried after the person was shot and killed, according to court documents filed over the weekend. Authorities searched a home in the 2700 block of Bess Hill Road, and a cadaver dog alerted them to human remains in the area. 

The inmate then gave authorities a more specific location, and authorities were able to recover a nearly complete human skeleton. The remains were sent to the University of Missouri Medical 
Examiner's Office for analysis and identification.

The inmate told police he helped Sandy Ray Gallaspie, 58, bury the body of Jon Williams after Gallaspie allegedly shot the person in the chest and drug him from a car that was driven by his ex-wife, Suzanne J. Ponder, court documents said. 

The inmate said after Williams' murder, he sat in the home of Ponder and Gallaspie and discussed how to dispose of the body, court documents said.

Ponder was charged with abandonment of a corpse.

Gallaspie has not yet been charged in the case, according to online court records. Cole County Sheriff John Wheeler said more charges are expected to be filed in the case. 

Gallaspie already faces at least three warrants for his arrest related to three separate criminal cases in Cole and Callaway counties, according to online court records. The Callaway County Sheriff's Office suspects Gallaspie for break-ins at Callaway County FencePro and a garage near New Bloomfield in 2017. The Jefferson City Police Department accused Gallaspie of receiving stolen property when he allegedly took a stolen chainsaw and climbing equipment from another person that same year.

Court records show that Gallaspie hasn't shown up for those court hearings since February. Judges in those cases issued warrants for his arrest.

The Cole County Prosecutor's Office wrote in 2017 that Gallaspie was convicted of rape in Jasper County in 1988.

While the Cole County Sheriff's Office has not said whether it believes the remains found over the weekend belong to Williams, the Missouri State Highway Patrol lists a Jon L. Williams as missing since Nov. 2015. Cole County records show that Williams and Ponder-Williams got a divorce in 2014 after 11 years of marriage. 

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