Informant: Charles Bell was shot at home by someone he knew

Thursday, August 7, 2014 | 6:02 p.m. CDT; updated 9:44 p.m. CDT, Thursday, August 7, 2014

COLUMBIA — Charles Bell, the Harrisburg man who has been missing for nearly three years, was shot to death in his garage by someone he knew, according to an affidavit filed with the 13th Circuit Court for Boone County.

The affidavit was filed July 29, the day after a "cooperating citizen" gave the Boone County Sheriff's Department information about Bell's death, including details pertaining to the location and disposal of his body. The information changed what had been a missing-person case into a homicide investigation.

The informant said she and several others witnessed an individual whom she knew shoot and kill Bell with a firearm during an altercation, according to the affidavit.

She also admitted to helping dispose of Bell's body and helping clean the scene of the crime with "beach towels and cleaning supplies."

The informant gave this information on the same day that Jennifer R. Freeman provided a similar account to the Sheriff's Department.

Freeman said she and Patrick L. Curl witnessed Bell's slaying, helped clean up the scene and disposed of Bell's body, according to previous Missourian reporting. Detective Tom O'Sullivan would not confirm whether Freeman was the "cooperative citizen." Freeman and Curl have both been charged with tampering with evidence and hindering prosecution.

The informant's information led investigators to search Bell's garage on July 29. In the garage, deputies found what was believed to be blood and took seven swabs of it to test for Bell's DNA, O'Sullivan said.

O'Sullivan declined to comment on whether Bell's killer had been identified and said no additional arrest warrants had been issued.

Bell was last seen Sept. 15, 2011, riding his red Ducati motorcycle toward Columbia to run errands. He was reported missing three days later.

Supervising editor is Landon Woodroof.

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