Laddonia couple, two juveniles, three men among those involved
April M. Fronick • Editor
More details continue to surface and an investigation continues into the grisly torture and murder of a 20-year-old man by a Laddonia couple and several others since the discovery of the victim’s body in a refrigerated truck on Dec. 22.
A motion has been made by Audrain County Prosecuting Attorney Jacob Shellabarger to upgrade the charges against Chester Clay (C.J.) Harvey, Jr., 38, and his 19-year-old son, Chad Michael Harvey, of Eolia. Both men are currently charged with felony counts of kidnapping and abandonment of a corpse. The pair was taken into custody following Chester Harvey’s daylong standoff with law enforcement where he held his wife and three of his minor children hostage.
Additional charges to be filed will include first degree murder and armed criminal action for the beating and subsequent suffocation of James William Boyd McNeely, 20, of Ohio.
Chester Harvey’s wife, Angela Dawn Harvey, 34, has also been arrested and charged with first degree murder, armed criminal action and kidnapping (inflicting injury, terrorizing). All three are being held in the Audrain County Jail without bond.
Three other men and two juveniles have also been charged with involvement in the crime.
Darrill Kirtley Lynn, 45, of Farber; Jackie Don Moss, 44, and Robert Nicholas “Nick” Allen, 52, both of Vandalia, were each arrested and charged last week with kidnapping (inflicting injury, terrorizing). All three men were held in the Audrain County Jail on $50,000 bonds. Lynn and Moss posted bond and Allen remains in custody.
Two juvenile boys, a 16-year-old and 14-year-old, are being held at an undisclosed detention center and have been charged with first degree murder.
Though Chester Harvey’s 14 and 16-year-old children were among the hostages he had during the standoff with law enforcement two weeks ago, Audrain County Sheriff Stuart Miller said he could not release the identities of the two boys in custody. Shellabarger may opt to seek certification of the two boys as adults so they may be tried as such in McNeely’s killing. Additional charges of kidnapping, felonious restraint and armed criminal action may also be filed against the youths.
Shellabarger was in court on Monday, Jan. 4, and was unavailable for comment.
Law enforcement officials have not speculated as to a motive in the case. Sheriff Miller said the community is still reeling from the shocking details of the murder. He added that in his years of law enforcement he’s not seen a situation that involved so many people.
“The comments I’ve heard in the community is how shocking it is to them. They’re in disbelief,” Sheriff Miller remarked.
According to probable cause statements, McNeely was picked up by Chester Harvey, a truck driver, in California and brought to the area several weeks ago. The torture allegedly began on Thursday, Dec. 17 as McNeely was bound and duct taped at a residence in Farber before being taken to the Harvey home at 312 Young Street in Laddonia where he was stowed in the basement on a mattress. Over the course of that night McNeely, whose feet and hands were bound, was reportedly terrorized, kicked and beaten while being guarded by Chad Harvey, armed with a shotgun. Angela Harvey has admitted to kicking McNeely, pointing a loaded gun and threatening him, saying, “just give me one reason to shoot you.”
The following night those involved put McNeely in a chair and wrapped a wire around his throat and Chester Harvey suffocated McNeely with a trash bag. Angela Harvey further admitted to telling her husband how to kill McNeely.
Once he was dead, McNeely’s body was wrapped in a tarp and stored in the refrigerated unit of a semi trailer leased by Chester Harvey. The body was discovered on Dec. 22 after a call was placed to the Missouri State Highway Patrol. An autopsy performed by the Boone County Medical Examiner’s Office confirmed McNeely’s death was a homicide and that the cause of death was asphyxiation.
When asked if there was a drug relation to the case, Sheriff Miller said he could not comment at this time but noted the investigation is complex and ongoing. The Harvey couple reportedly had financial troubles, owing creditors more than $30,000.
“We’re still following through with leads and there have been new developments,” Sheriff Miller said.
McNeely’s body was transported to and laid to rest last week in West Virginia where members of his family reside. McNeely’s aunt and childhood guardian, Jackie McNeely Jewell is demanding justice for the vicious murder of her nephew who, she admits, had a checkered past.
Sheriff Miller pointed out there has been a great deal of cooperation between all the branches of law enforcement involved in the investigation and the community’s support has been strong.
“It’s been overwhelming,” Sheriff Miller said. “The cooperation helps bring a situation like this to a successful resolution.”
Both Chester Harvey and Chad Harvey are scheduled to have court appearances on Wednesday, Jan. 15. A juvenile certification hearing may be heard regarding the two minor suspects on Feb. 4. Allen is expected to appear in court on Friday, Jan, 8 and court dates for Lynn and Moss are set for Wednesday, Jan. 27.
A reward is still being offered for information about the murder, contact Crime Stoppers at 1-800-392-TIPS (8477).
Individuals charged with a crime are considered innocent until proven guilty in a court of law.