COLUMBIA — A woman was arrested Friday in Texas and charged with the first-degree murder of her estranged husband, a Columbia man who was shot and killed in 2004.
Galveston County, Texas, deputies detained Tausha L. Fields, 33, of Dickinson, Texas, according to a release from the Boone County Sheriff's Department. Fields' ex-husband, Gregory Warren Morton, was arrested on the same charges in Columbia earlier this year.
Family members of Mitchell Wayne Kemp first reported him missing in 2004, said Maj. Tom Reddin of the Sheriff’s Department.
An investigation conducted by the Sheriff’s Department led to the discovery of skeletal remains on Aug. 9 on a property off Deer Park Road near Three Creeks Conservation Area. The Missouri State Highway Patrol Crime Lab, using DNA analysis, later identified the remains as those of Kemp.
According to court documents, an autopsy conducted by the Boone County Medical Examiner’s Office ruled the death a homicide and concluded that Kemp was shot to death.
Morton, the former owner of the property on which the remains were found, was arrested on suspicion of first-degree murder on Aug. 29.
Before Kemp's remains were discovered, a relative attempted to find him by using the Internet, Reddin said. The search eventually led to a Florida man who told officers information indicating that Kemp had been murdered.
After she was interviewed by detectives in August, Fields led them to the clandestine grave, which was located on property where she and Morton formerly resided, according to court documents.
Reddin could not provide specific details as to why it took more than four months to arrest Fields in connection with the murder.
“We had our suspicions at that time, but there was more work to be done,” Reddin said.
As of 3:45 p.m. Monday, Fields was being held on a $1 million cash-only bond in Texas and was awaiting extradition to Boone County.
Morton is scheduled for a preliminary hearing on Jan. 8.