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Jefferson City woman charged with abandoning corpse

Jefferson City woman charged with abandoning corpse

July 2nd, 2019 by News Tribune in News
Suzanne Ponder-Williams

Suzanne Ponder-Williams

Photo by Submitted photo

Editor's Note: See Jefferson City man sought in possible 2015 murder case for an update in this case.

A Jefferson City woman has been charged with abandonment of a corpse in connection with a possible murder in 2015.

Suzanne Ponder-Williams, 47, is believed to have committed the crime around November 2015, according to a Cole County Sheriff's Department probable cause statement.

Last Wednesday, an inmate at the county jail asked to speak with a detective, claiming to know where a body was buried and that the victim might have been shot to death before being buried.

The inmate consented to a computerized voice stress test, and the results indicated the inmate was being truthful, according to the statement.

Members of the Cole County Sheriff's Department, the Missouri Highway Patrol and the Moniteau County Sheriff's Department went to a residence in the 2700 block of Bess Hill Road on Thursday. The property owner allowed authorities to search the property with cadaver dogs. The dogs indicated there were human remains on the property but couldn't give an exact location. The inmate was then taken to the site and directed authorities to a specific area of the property.

An excavator from the Cole County Public Works Department removed rock and terrain, eventually uncovering a human fibula. A pathologist confirmed the bone to be human.

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Digging then resumed by hand and revealed a nearly complete human skeleton.

The remains were taken to the University of Missouri Medical Examiner's Office for further analysis and identification.

The inmate was interviewed again Friday and admitted he had assisted in burying the body. The inmate also gave the name of the person who allegedly shot the victim once in the chest.

After the murder, the inmate said, he sat in the home of Ponder-Williams and the alleged shooter and talked about how and where to dispose of the body. He said Ponder-Williams was the victim's ex-wife.

The inmate said the alleged shooter told him he had shot the victim once in the chest, then dragged the body from a car driven by Ponder-Williams. The inmate then said the alleged shooter contacted him to have him assist in disposing of the body. They used a tractor to dig the hole, put the body in the hole, then backfilled the hole with dirt to conceal the corpse.

As of Monday afternoon, Cole County Prosecutor Locke Thompson said no additional charges had been filed against Ponder-Williams, and no charges had been filed against anyone else believed to be involved in this case.

While the probable statement includes the names of the suspected shooter and victim, those names have not been included in this article pending confirmation from authorities.


This article was edited at 12:45 p.m. July 2, 2019, to clarify that Ponder-Williams is the victim's ex-wife.