Body of Columbia man missing since Feb. 8 found; 3 arrested – KTVI Fox 2 St. Louis

Body of Columbia man missing since Feb. 8 found; 3 arrested - KTVI Fox 2 St. Louis

Suspects charged in connection to Columbia man found dead in Miller County

COLUMBIA – Court documents filed in Miller County identified three men as suspects in connection with the death of Aaron Brantley.

Christopher English, William Lucas and Daniel Cole have each been charged. English, 41, is charged with first-degree murder, armed criminal action and abandonment of a corpse. Lucas, 42, and Cole, 54, have each been charged with being an accessory to murder, being an accessory to armed criminal action, and conspiracy – abandonment of a corpse.

The witness told officers he saw English walk outside Lucas residence to the driveway and meet with Brantley. The witness then said English returned to the garage and told everyone to help load the body into Brantleys silver Hyundai Sonata. The witness said he, Lucas, English and Cole put Brantleys body in the car.

Brantley was reported missing in February by his wife, who said she last heard from him on February 8. At the time, friends told Becky Brantley that Aaron was going to the Lake of the Ozarks area.

Cole told a state trooper English drove Brantleys car to an unknown location, while Lucas followed in a pickup truck. The witness told investigators they came back in Lucas truck without Brantleys vehicle or body. The four men then went to a convenience store and bought three bottles of bleach.

On Friday, the Miller County Sheriffs Office announced theyd found Brantleys body in a wooded area, and that he died of a gunshot wound. The sheriffs office also said three people had been arrested and charged.

Christopher English faces charges of first-degree murder and armed criminal action, while Daniel Cole and William Lucas were charged with accessory to a first-degree murder and accessory to armed criminal action. The three men were also charged with abandonment of corpse.

According to court documents, Aaron Brantley was planning to meet up English at a bowling alley in Kaiser. Becky reportedly called English after finding his number on their phone records. Documents said English told Becky he was supposed to meet Aaron, but Aaron never showed up.

A probable cause document stated that a witness approached an Osage Beach police officer and told him English had shot Aaron Brantley at a residence on Blue Ridge Road in Miller County. The residence belonged to William Lucas.

On March 6, Osage Beach Police told the Miller County Sheriffs Office they had a person who told them hed been involved in Brantleys homicide. The witness said he was with Lucas and English at Lucas home on February 8, where English reportedly met Brantley. According to the witness, English came back and said he shot Brantley, then demanded everyone help load the body into Brantleys vehicle.

The bond for English was set at $400,000, while the bonds for Cole and Lucas were set at $225,000. Cole and Lucas had scheduled arraignment hearings scheduled for Monday morning. A court date for English had not yet been set.

Documents filed against Lucas said he admitted to knowing about Brantleys death, and helping to move the body. Receipts showed Lucas bought a tarp, work lights and lime, which can speed up the decomposition process.

Documents filed against Cole said he and the others bought and used materials to try and conceal the homicide.

MILLER COUNTY, Mo. – Three Miller County men have been charged in the death of a Columbia man who was reported missing last month.

Aaron Brantley last seen by his family Feb. 8 after he went to the Lake of the Ozarks/Osage Beach area. (MSHP Missing Person Poster)

Prosecutors on Friday charged Christopher W. English with first-degree murder, armed criminal action and abandonment of a corpse in the death of Aaron Brantley, 41. William G. Lucas and Daniel Cole were charged with accessory to first-degree murder, accessory to armed criminal action and conspiracy to abandon a corpse. The Miller County Sheriff's Office said last week that Brantley's body was found in a wooded area near Brumley. 

Brantley, who was reported missing Feb. 9, apparently died of a gunshot wound, the sheriff's office said. 

According to a probable cause statement filed in Lucas' and Cole's cases, the two men helped move Brantley's vehicle and body after English shot him at a property on Blue Ridge Road in Miller County. They also helped burn Brantley's bloody clothes and cellphone and use bleach in an attempt to clean the crime scene, according to the statement. 

A fourth man told investigators that the men were inside a building when English and Brantley went outside and English returned with a handgun without Brantley. The fourth man told investigators he saw Brantley's body under a tarp outside with a gunshot wound to the head. 

The man told investigators that English drove Brantley's car from the scene and Lucas followed him in a pickup and that the two men returned to the Blue Ridge property together, according to the statement. The man said they went to a store in Kaiser and bought bleach to clean the ground where Brantley's body and blood had been.

Cole told investigators a large amount of methamphetamine was at a shop on the property Feb. 8, when the killing took place, according to the statement. 

A probable cause statement filed in English's case says Brantley's wife reported him missing Feb. 9 after he had left to meet with someone named "Chris." Investigators determined Brantley was meeting English at a bowling alley in Kaiser, the document says.

English was being held on a $400,000 bond while the other two men were jailed on a $225,000 bond. 


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