After searching the Allied Waste Landfill on Moreau River Access Road for several days, Jefferson City Police made an announcement many expected in the disappearance of Christopher Cray, but hoped would not happen.
"Based on investigative efforts and information received over the past several days during our search, the Jefferson City Police Department is currently ruling this investigation a homicide investigation until such time as we can gain evidence to the contrary," said Police spokesman Capt. Doug Shoemaker.
The department has been investigating Cray's disappearance since May 20. Cray was last seen in the area of Schnucks supermarket, 1801 Missouri Blvd. His abandoned vehicle was recovered in Jefferson City on May 26.
Cray 's disappearance was considered suspicious because family members said Cray always kept in contact with them. Since his disappearance, Cray missed celebrating his own birthday and the birth of his child.
"While we were initially and still some degree optimistic that we would find Mr. Cray safe, all evidence and testimony leads us to believe that those chances are increasingly slim," Shoemaker said.
Police also said Tuesday the two men who have been charged in connection with this case remain their prime suspects.
"We can confirm that information contained in court documents links Richard Love and Adam Moore-Duncan directly to this investigation as a homicide," said Shoemaker.
Moore-Duncan was arrested for tampering with evidence and abandonment of a corpse at the landfill. He is officially charged with one count of tampering with physical evidence.
Court documents released Tuesday claim Moore-Duncan, 25, of 803 E. McCarty St., concealed a body on or around May 22 in connection with authorities' investigation into a "missing person" case and obstructed the prosecution of the crime of murder.
Moore-Duncan took a trash cart to the landfill and disposed of the cart in the customer self-serve drop off. Video shows Moore-Duncan entering the landfill at 8:15 a.m. May 22.
The trash bin was reported missing from 403 Boonville Road.
Authorities said Cray was placed in the trash bin and disposed of at the landfill.
Moore-Duncan admitted to picking up the trash cart and helping to load it, but denied knowing a body was in the cart when it was dumped.
Authorities said Love, 25, of 811 E. Dunklin St., "on more than one occasion from June 13-17 threatened (a witness) during this investigation," including trying to get that person to avoid cooperating with authorities in their investigation into the "disappearance and/or kidnapping and/or homicide" of Cray.
On June 17, Love sent a text message to a witness in the Cray case.
The message said the witness would "die like the first rat." Love later admitted to authorities he sent the text message.
During their investigation, authorities said they found that Cray was "accused of cooperating with police and causing the arrest of an individual" associated with Love.
Both Moore-Duncan and Love are being held in the Cole County Jail.
Police are still conducting interviews with other people they believe are connected to this case. They plan to continue to search the landfill site and staffing it 24 hours a day until further notice. While they have found items they believe are linked to the case, they have not said what those items are.
"This is still an open investigation, and many details regarding this case will not be released until such time as to not jeopardize the status and closure of the case itself," said Shoemaker.
Cray's family did a release a statement Tuesday evening.
"As a family we want to thank everyone for the continued prayers and support. We also want to thank all the men and women that are working so hard to help locate Chris to bring him home until we have answers," the statement said. "We ask everyone to remember Chris is our mother's baby, our baby brother and his baby's father. He is not just another story. He is loved by so many and we have all felt his love and we miss him dearly. This is a very hard time for all of us and we hope that is respected. If anyone has information or has heard anything, please call the police department."