UPDATE 5/22/2023: A probable cause statement obtained from the Benton County Circuit Court shows that a search of Robert Ashley Peterson’s residence revealed large volumes of blood on the walls, floor, ceiling and furniture.
Authorities believe the victim, Lori Beth Finlay, was moved across the living room before being wrapped in blankets and garbage bags in an attempt to dispose of and hide the body from law enforcement.
During the search, officers found a rifle coated in large amounts of blood near the body. They also discovered a digital video recorder in a chair nearby.
Peterson was arrested at his parents’ home. His father told law enforcement he had been there since the night of May 15, the last time Finlay was seen alive.
A friend of Finlay contacted law enforcement on May 17. The caller stated she had found the door to Finlay’s residence open and her pet left behind.
Outside Finlay’s home, a neighbor’s surveillance video shows Finlay getting into Peterson’s vehicle on May 15. Neighbors reported that was also the last day Peterson’s vehicle was seen outside his home.
Peterson was previously convicted in 2003 on third-degree domestic assault charges in Marshall Associate Circuit Court. He was convicted a second time in the same court in 2004 of second-degree assault.
WARSAW, Mo. — Benton County deputies have arrested a man in connection with a murdered woman found inside a rural Warsaw home.
A Facebook post from the Benton County Sheriff’s Office states deputies discovered the body of 57-year-old Lori Beth Finlay just after 9 p.m. on May 18.
Finlay’s body was found inside a residence on Del Vista Drive. Detectives later determined that the residence belonged to Finlay’s alleged boyfriend, 54-year-old Robert Ashley Peterson.
The sheriff’s office says two women called 911 after forcing their way into the house, telling dispatchers they were concerned for a friend who had been missing from the area since May 15.
The women discovered what appeared to be a body covered with a blanket and trash bags, as well as what they believed were large amounts of blood.
According to the sheriff’s office, a preliminary medical examiner’s report states Finlay was shot multiple times in the head and neck and was also severely beaten on her upper body, head and neck.
Deputies say they located Peterson at a residence in Marshall, Missouri, and took him into custody on a previous warrant for domestic violence.
Online court documents show Peterson is now facing charges in connection with Finlay’s death, including one felony count of first-degree murder, one felony count of tampering with physical evidence in felony prosecution and one felony count of abandonment of a corpse. He is currently being held in the Benton County Jail without bond.
The investigation into the incident is ongoing.