WEBB CITY, Mo. – Today’s autopsy of a Joplin woman revealed she was murdered over the weekend. The suspect is still at large.
According to a Facebook post from the Webb City Police Department, Maria L. Whitaker, 39, was found in a home in the 1000 block of West First Street in Webb City. Whitaker was pronounced dead at a local hospital.
Detectives have identified a Branson man, Nicholas Kyle Berry, 51, as a suspect in the murder. Berry is not yet in custody and should be considered armed and dangerous.
The Facebook post states that Whitaker was found around 3:22 a.m. on April 9 when officers responded to a disturbance on West First Street. Whitaker was unresponsive when officers arrived and performed CPR until EMS arrived.
Webb City police say they believe this is an isolated incident and that the victim was specifically targeted.
The Missouri State Highway Patrol’s Division of Drug and Crime Control are assisting detectives with the investigation.
The MSHP tells KOLR 10/FOX 49 that law enforcement is uncertain whether Berry is in the Webb City or Branson area.
Anyone with information regarding Berry’s whereabouts are encouraged to contact their local law enforcement or the Webb City Police Department.
KOLR 10/FOX 49 will update this story as more information becomes available.