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Man arrested after girl found dead in Truman Lake

A southwest Missouri man with a long criminal history was arrested in connection with the death of a 15-year-old girl whose body was found in Truman Lake with weights attached to her body.

The 47-year-old “person of interest” was arrested after a chase that began around 5:30 p.m. Monday in Greene County and ended in Dallas County. The Associated Press is not identifying the man because prosecutors had not filed any charges against him as of Tuesday afternoon.

The body of Khighla Parks, of Willard, was found Sept. 30 in the southwest Missouri lake by fishermen. Benton County officials have said the girl was dead when her body was dumped in the lake, but the cause of death has not been released.

The Benton County Sheriff’s Office said the girl was last seen in Buffalo after she was reported missing Sept. 20.

The man taken into custody Monday was on probation for convictions in 2010 for unlawful use of weapons, manufacturing a controlled substance and resisting arrest with the intent to cause physical harm or death by fleeing. He and Khighla were listed as friends on each other’s Facebook pages, but authorities haven’t revealed any information about whether the two knew each other.

Missouri Department of Corrections spokesman Chris Cline said the man was released from prison on parole in August after serving about 15 months for possessing marijuana in Christian County.

The pot charge was one of seven convictions for the man in 2010, Cline said. The other six were in Greene County, where a judge suspended his sentences and put him on probation, even though probation had been revoked in several previous cases, all the way back to the mid-1990s.

In March 2011, he was sentenced to 12 years in prison on the drug charge and four years for the resisting charge, but he didn’t serve time for those crimes.

Cline said the man first was sentenced in 1991 for forgery and put on probation, which eventually was revoked as the man went in and out of prison several times before completing his sentence in November 1998.

He was sentenced to three years in March 2004 for unlawful use of a weapon in Dallas County, but was put on probation. Soon afterward, that was revoked and he was sent to prison in July 2004. He was paroled in October 2005, Cline said, but that was revoked in 2007 and he completed his sentence in prison.

Calls and emails to sheriffs and prosecutors in Dallas and Greene counties were not returned Tuesday.

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