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Second arrest made in Miller County murder investigation

Second arrest made in Miller County murder investigation

March 16th, 2019 in Local News
Tyler Kroll

Tyler Kroll

Photo by Miller County Sheriff's Department

A second person has been arrested in connection with a murder investigation in Miller County.

Sheriff’s department reports show Tyler Kroll, 25, who is from the Chicago area, was taken into custody March 7 in connection with the death of Tyler Worthington, 34, of North San Juan, California. Kroll is charged with first-degree murder. Authorities did not give specifics on why Kroll was charged, only that new information led in their investigation led to his arrest.

In September, Joseph McKenna, 26, of Chicago, was charged with second-degree murder in connection with the death of Worthington.

Miller County court documents detail how McKenna drove to Missouri from Chicago with Worthington in separate vehicles after Worthington flew in to Illinois from Sacramento, California. Both men were allegedly traveling to Missouri with the intent of selling marijuana oil-loaded vapor smoking pen cartridges.

According to law enforcement officers, investigators in California discovered Worthington owned and maintained a large marijuana-growing operation in and around his home, and also produced marijuana oil in cartridges for McKenna that were “purchased by and shipped to McKenna Services Inc.” at an address in Chicago.

Worthington’s fiancee said he flew to meet McKenna — “who she described as an individual active in the dealing of drugs and one who Worthington ‘works with’ — to drive to Missouri to ‘do a job.’”

Worthington flew out of Sacramento for Chicago on June 2 and rented a white 2018 Toyota Corolla rental car at the Chicago airport; the car is still missing.

Miller County Sheriff Louie Gregoire said the Corolla is registered in Illinois and its license plate is AW70304.

Toll road records in Illinois showed McKenna and Worthington’s vehicles — McKenna in a 2009 Chevrolet truck — left the Chicago area after 1 a.m. June 4.

McKenna drove back through tolls in the area in the opposite direction at approximately 5:30 p.m. June 4 without Worthington. A probable cause statement from the Missouri Highway Patrol notes “the approximate drive time from Chicago, Illinois, to the location where Worthington was murdered is 14 hours, round-trip. From the time McKenna left Chicago till the time he returned is 16 hours and 17 minutes.”

Worthington died June 4 from a single gunshot wound to the head, and his remains were found June 11 in a wooded area near Tuscumbia just off a rural Miller County road. His identity was verified by fingerprint confirmation after an autopsy two days later.

Investigators also interviewed “a close associate of Worthington’s” who “confirmed that Worthington and McKenna are engaged in the production and sale of marijuana oil-loaded vapor pen cartridges.”

“While conducting a phone interview with (the associate of Worthington’s), he received a phone call from Joseph McKenna on another line,” according to the Highway Patrol’s probable cause statement.

“(Worthington’s associate) placed the other line on speaker phone and an investigator was able to listen and record the conversation between the two,” which included a description of what was believed to be “the likely drug transaction (McKenna) and Worthington conducted in Missouri and details of how he last saw Worthington leaving with a large sum of money from that transaction.”

McKenna described on the phone a plan to deliver packages of money to a person in Chenoa, Illinois, “where it was to be loaded into a tractor trailer and shipped.”

He also stated he was supposed to fly back with Worthington on June 5 to Sacramento, but investigators determined McKenna had flown back with his girlfriend instead.