Arrest imminent in murder case

Thursday, October 4, 2007

On Tuesday morning, Barry County Sheriff Mick Epperly said his officers were close to arresting the person or persons they believe murdered a 21-year-old Monett man last week and dumped his body at a public access point along Flat Creek near Jenkins.

On Sept. 25, a Conser-vation Agent discovered the body of an unidentified man at Stubblefield Access on Flat Creek. Within 24 hours, the man was identified as Joshua Utter. An autopsy, which was conducted in Springfield on Sept. 26, revealed that Utter died from blunt force trauma to the back of his head.

According to Epperly, Utter's throat was also cut and there were other injuries on his body. The sheriff said Utter was last seen in Monett on the night of Sept. 24.

"We're getting real close to making an arrest," said Epperly. "We have persons of interest and we have the Highway Patrol crime team and the Monett Police Department working with my investigators. They've all been working hours and hours and hours on this case."

The crime scene is in Monett not in Jenkins where the body was found, and Epperly said he believed more than one person was involved in Utter's murder.

"My officers have done an exceptionally good job in handling this case," said Epperly. "It could have been a cold case with the body dumped away from the crime scene. My investigators have tracked down leads and really done great on a case that involves a lot of work."

Epperly said he expects to make an announcement concerning an arrest sometime this week.

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