COLUMBIA — Police were searching Wednesday for a Callaway County man suspected of using a high-powered rifle and handgun to kill three people and wound another in central Missouri.
Joshua William Maylee, 23, was being sought in the shooting deaths of Jeffrey Werdehausen, 46, of Holts Summit; Eugene Pinet, 48; and Jackie Pinet, 57.
Werdehausen's wife, 41-year-old Gina Werdehausen, was also shot and was in critical condition at University Hospital as of Wednesday afternoon.
According to The Associated Press, Gina Werdehausen’s hospitalization prompted a lockdown at University Hospital as a precaution, and Truman Veterans Hospital was also locked down. At a press conference Wednesday afternoon at the Callaway County Sheriff's Department, Sgt. Robert Bruchsaler said the measure was “standard policy” for the hospital and that authorities had no information that the suspect intended to try to get into the hospital.
According to a release from the MU News Bureau sent about 2:30 p.m., staff, patients and visitors could still access the hospital but were screened as they entered and left. Bruchsaler said he assumed the lockdown would continue until Maylee is taken into custody.
Bruchsaler said rumors of gunshots in an MU parking garage that spread via social media and text messages were “completely unsubstantiated” and that nobody had reported seeing the suspect on campus.
The Werdehausens were shot Tuesday night, and the Pinets were shot in a separate incident Wednesday morning, Bruchsaler said. According to KRCG, Jeffrey Werdehausen was found dead in a cabin on County Road 488 near Tebbetts. The Pinets were found by police at about 11 a.m. at 1495 Heartnut Road near Holts Summit.
Bruchsaler said that the killings were not random and that the suspect was believed to have acted alone.
The Mid-Missouri Major Case Squad was activated for the investigation and was checking out more than 60 leads, according to a release from the case squad. Bruchsaler said investigators were searching all counties surrounding Callaway County. A previous AP article reported that police said Maylee might be armed.
Bruchsaler said people who have had any "negative contact" with Maylee need to call police, and if Maylee knew where they live, they should leave their homes. Bruchsaler said more than 100 concerned people had contacted him.
Bruchsaler said the search for Maylee began Tuesday night.
Police said Maylee is 23 years old, about 6 feet tall and weighs around 180 pounds and has blue eyes and is balding, according to the AP.
Shanna Wyatt, 34, a niece of Jeffrey Werdehausen, said the assailant came to the Werdehausens’ home Tuesday night, the AP reported. When Gina Werdehausen heard dogs barking and went outside to investigate, she was shot in the neck and passed out.
Wyatt said the person then went inside and shot Jeffrey Werdehausen, the father of two children and two stepchildren.
When Gina woke up a couple of hours later, she called 911.
Bruchsaler said Maylee knew all four victims but wasn’t related to any of them.
According to the AP, a woman who answered a phone number registered to Maylee identified herself as his mother, Paula Cook. She said she had not heard from her son, whom she described as a "great kid."
According to Missouri Case.net, a warrant has been issued for Maylee’s arrest. Maylee was arrested earlier this month for felony theft.
The Mid Missouri Major Case Squad is asking that anyone with any information regarding the whereabouts of Maylee contact the Major Case Squad at (573) 592-2451 or (573) 592-2442.