SPRINGFIELD, Mo. — A man was found guilty of kidnapping and murdering a man in the summer of 2019.

Dustin C. Winter, 33, of Springfield, was sentenced to life in prison on Jan. 20, after a jury found him guilty in September of 2022.

The case was created after a person reported to the police that they believed a murder had been committed. They said had been forced to clean blood out of a U-Haul van by Winter. Winter failed to return the van and when police found him, Winter led them on a high-speed chase in the U-Haul. The chase ended near Marshfield.

According to a press release from a Greene County prosecuting attorney, when police searched the van, they found evidence of blood, which they drew DNA from to match with the victim who had been missing for several weeks. The person who reported the crime gave police a bag labeled “Bell” that had the identification of the victim.

The victim was Elijah Reynolds, 34 at the time of his death.

During a recorded phone call from jail, Winter asked someone if she remembered when they had to clean a van quickly and talked about a “Bell” bag, asking her to get rid of it.

Winter had lured the victim to a Springfield residence by asking for help with moving. After getting the victim to help, Winter searched on Google phrases such as “Can acid dissolve a body?”

Two other people related to the case were previously sentenced.

William Skaggs, 25, pleaded guilty to reduced charges of kidnapping and involuntary manslaughter. He was sentenced to 15 years in prison: 10 years for kidnapping and 5 for the manslaughter charge.

Kaleigh Pickle, 27, is serving a 5-year prison sentence for her charge of kidnapping.

Both Pickle and Skaggs originally faced second-degree murder charges.

Dustin Winter mugshot

The victim’s body has never been found.