SPRINGFIELD, Mo. — Three people now have charges involving a murder investigation in Springfield.
According to police, 34-year-old Elijah McReynolds went missing in the summer of 2019. His body hasn’t been found yet, but it’s assumed he is deceased after his blood was found in the back of a U Haul.
That same vehicle was involved in a high-speed chase that ended in a crash in Marshfield August 2019.
William Skaggs, 23, and Kaleigh Pickle, 25, were arrested last month and are facing 2nd-degree murder and kidnapping charges.
Dustin Winter, 30, is charged with 1st-degree murder, kidnapping and tampering with evidence.
Winter was already in jail in a different county for a different charge.
According to the probable cause statement, Det. J. McCain received a report from a confidential source saying Dustin Winter was involved in a homicide that occurred between July 23 and July 29, 2019. The source said the homicide happened between Springfield and Strafford but couldn’t give an exact location. The source said they couldn’t identify the victim but believed the homicide occurred inside a U-Haul van.
Between July 23 and 29, the confidential source was forced by Winter to use rags and cleaner to clean blood out of the cargo area of a U-Haul van.
After doing some research, Det McCain found out Winter had a report against him with the Springfield Police for not returning the U-Haul van on July 26. The report was completed on August 5, 2019.
McCain found the U-Haul parked outside of a residence on North National. Det, McCain left the residence for a short period and returned to fin the U-Haul was no longer there. Det. McCain located the U-Haul a few blocks away from the residence. Det. McCain surveillance the van and saw a man walking from the store get into the U-Haul. Det McCain recognized the individuals as Winter. He tried to contact Winter; however, Winter fleed at a high rate of speed. Det McCain, along with several other police agencies, initiated a vehicle pursuit around Springfield and Strafford. The chase ended when Winter crashed the van near Marshfield, Mo. Winter was taken into custody. McCain took several items from the van, including Winter’s personal cell phone as evidence.
McCain applied for and was granted a search warrant for the van for potential forensic evidence. The swabs that were sent off to the crime lab tested positive for human blood. The blood evidence was later confirmed to belong to Elijah McReynolds.
During the investigation, The confidential source told police that they had found Elijah McReynold’s belongings in the van, including his identification cards, and turned the items over to McCain.
During an interview, the confidential source told police that they and another person were forced by Winter to clean the back of U-Haul and saw a large amount of blood and what they believed to be bloody ropes. The source told McCain that several bloody items were taken from the van and burned. The source also indicated the two other people were involved in the homicide. After investigation, the suspects were identified as William Skaggs and Kaleigh Pickle,
The source believed that Skaggs and Pickle were in possession of a firearm used to kill McReynolds.
Police were granted a search warrant for the phone that Det. McCain located in the van, the phone was listed under Winter’s iCloud account. As the iCloud data was reviewed, police located messages exchanged messages saying things like “I’m going after Eli and going to mase sure he suffers slowly with pain and agony at that point 5-0 can come get some cause I’m down.”
Police located several more messages between Winter, Pickle, and Skaggs saying, “PVC pipe and zip ties items not to forget lol.” Messages were also found between Winter and McReynolds.
The data from the phone also included photos and GPS coordinates.
Police received a search warrant for Winter’s google account. Police found several GPS locations that Winter had been at, including HyVee and McReyondals apartment complex. Police also found google searches for “muriatic acid,” “sulfuric acid,” and “can acid dissolve a body.” The website linked to the “can acid dissolve a body” showed a video detailing the chemicals needed to dissolve a body.
Police used the GPS locations to track two areas that Winter had been at after picking up McReyondals. The two areas were at the Mark Twain National Forest. Police used a K9 unit and search and rescue team to try and locate the body. The k9 alerted to detecting decaying human remains about 75 feet away from where Winters data showed he was.
Family members told police that they have not seen or heard from McReyonds since July 2019.