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UPDATE: Murder investigation lasted six months

Friday, August 29, 2008 | 6:51 p.m. CDT; updated 3:56 p.m. CDT, Sunday, August 31, 2008

COLUMBIA — More than six months of law enforcement investigation into the whereabouts of a Columbia man missing since 2004 resulted in the arrest Friday morning of a former Harrisburg man.

The remains of Mitchell Wayne Kemp, 39, were found Aug. 9 on Deer Park Road near Three Creeks Conservation Area south of Columbia.

On Friday, the former owner of that property, Gregory Warren Morton, 40, was arrested in St. Louis and charged with first-degree murder. He worked as an electrician.

The Boone County Sheriff's Department, which arrested Morton with the assistance of St. Louis authorities, estimated that Kemp was shot and killed in August 2004, Sheriff Dwayne Carey said at a news conference. The two men knew each other because Morton was living with Kemp's estranged wife at the time of his death, Carey said.

Kemp had not been in contact with his family since the summer of 2004. The department first learned of Kemp's disappearance in February 2008 from a family member who had used Internet research and online chat rooms to try to track him down, Carey said. This family member, whom Carey would not identify, had uncovered information suggesting that Kemp had been killed in Boone County,

The investigation by the Sheriff's Department sent detectives to a number of states multiple times to interview people close to Kemp and recreate his activity through employment and vehicle registration records, Carey said. The investigation involved the entire unit, Carey said.

"I can't say how proud I am of this department," he said. "This is the most unique investigation I've seen in my 19 years."

Morton's bond was set at $1 million. He was being held in the Boone County Jail on Friday afternoon.

 

 


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