FAYETTE — The second-degree involuntary manslaughter charge was dismissed Wednesday against Harley Branham, the former Dairy Queen manager who was implicated in the suicide of 17-year-old Kenneth Suttner.

An aggravated stalking charge also was dropped, leaving Branham facing one felony charge.

April Wilson, the special prosecutor in this case, said Branham initially faced two aggravated stalking charges, stemming from incidents in October and December 2016.

The stalking charge related to the December incident was dismissed, but neither Wilson nor Branham’s attorney, Jeffrey Hilbrenner, would elaborate.

Over the past year, an extensive investigation uncovered additional information, Wilson said, but the investigation is continuing, and Suttner’s family is being supportive.

The family simply wants justice to be heard, Wilson said.

Suttner worked at the Dairy Queen in Fayette when Branham was manager, and she has been accused of bullying him to the point where he took his own life on Dec. 21, 2016.

According to previous Missourian reporting, Missouri law allows a coroner to call an inquest to determine if there was criminal activity in a person’s death.

Because bullying was suspected to be a contributing cause in Suttner’s death, Howard County Coroner Frank Flashpohler called the inquest. The six-person inquest jury found that Glasgow High School was negligent in preventing bullying and that Dairy Queen was negligent in training its employees about harassment.

Suttner was a junior at Glasgow High School when he died.

Branham has said she does not believe she had bullied or harassed Suttner and has denied much of the previous characterization of her work relationship with him.

An arraignment in her case is scheduled for 9 a.m. March 7 on the remaining aggravated stalking charge.

Supervising editor is Jeanne Abbott: abbottjm@missouri.edu, 882-5741.

  • Graphics editor at the Columbia Missourian.

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