Maylee arrested in Cooper County
Originally published October 28, 2010 at 2:36 p.m., updated October 28, 2010 at 2:44 p.m.
UPDATE: Joshua Maylee was arrested at 1:30 p.m. Thursday in Cooper County.
Maylee, named as a person of interest in this week’s murders of three Holts Summit area residents and the wounding of a fourth, was “arrested without incident,” Mid-Missouri Major Case Squad spokesman Robert Bruchsaler told reporters. “Officers in Cooper are questioning him at this time.”
Details will be forthcoming.
As authorities continue their manhunt for Joshua Maylee, they reiterated this morning that the man they believe is responsible for three fatal shootings is targeting people he knew, not random people. Meanwhile, court records show that one of the three people fatally shot in the case had stored a lawn mower allegedly stolen by Maylee.
At a 9:30 a.m. news conference this morning, Sgt. Robert Bruchsaler, a spokesman for the Mid-Missouri Major Case Squad, said authorities have followed 75 leads since the shootings. No sightings of Maylee have been confirmed since the shootings, he said.
Bruchsaler said authorities believe Maylee is acting alone.
Jeff Werdehausen and his wife, Gina, were shot Tuesday night. Werdehausen was killed, and his wife is in stable condition at University Hospital in Columbia. Another couple, Eugene and Jackie Pinet, were fatally shot Wednesday morning.
Maylee and all the victims were from the Holts Summit area.
Burchasler said authorities have had no physical sighting of Maylee and are asking area farmers to be on the lookout for him and the silver Bonneville he was last seen driving.
Bruchsaler told reporters that more than 100 law enforcement officers were searching for Maylee and that evidence had been developed that connects the shootings. He did not elaborate.
Police say the killings are not random but have declined to discuss a possible motive or why the victims may have been targeted. Bruchsaler has said the gunman used a high-powered rifle and a handgun, and that authorities believed he acted alone.
Maylee, also of Holts Summit, faces two felony theft charges. A police probable cause statement in one of those cases says Maylee stole the mower, valued at around $10,000, from a home in Kingdom City on Oct. 15, 2009. He has not been charged in connection with the shootings Wednesday.
Missouri State Highway Patrol Sgt. Jason Clark says in the document that Maylee told police in a July 20 interview that he put the lawn mower in an enclosed trailer and took it to Pinet’s home. The lawn mower was recovered under a search warrant two days later, the document says.
It is not clear from court documents whether Pinet knew the mower was stolen.
Clark did not immediately return a phone message Thursday.
Bruchsaler declined to comment about whether Pinet was aware the lawn mower had been stolen, saying he did not have firsthand knowledge about the theft investigation.
Callaway County Prosecutor Robert Sterner, who filed the theft charges Wednesday, also declined to comment.
Bruchsaler told reporters that police have distributed a description of Maylee and a vehicle to law enforcement in bordering states. He said police want farmers to be on the lookout for a four-door silver Pontiac Bonneville on their properties.
On Oct. 4, Maylee also had been charged with theft for allegedly stealing a tractor from Holts Summit resident William Essen on March 24, 2009. Clark said in a probable cause statement that Maylee “confessed to stealing the tractor” and told police he kept it at his house for several weeks before taking it to Ashland, Mo., where it sold for $2,500. The document does not say who bought the tractor.
Essen told the AP on Thursday that he does not know Maylee and was unaware anyone had been charged with stealing his tractor, for which he paid about $14,000 in 2004.
“If somebody bought it for $2,000, that would be suspect — somebody would know it was not right. It was in good condition,” Essen said.
The probable cause document includes a section on whether there are any facts indicating the defendant will not appear on a summons or poses a danger to the victim, the community or any other person. Clark wrote that there were none.