Arrest made in Cole Camp triple homicide

June 27, 2009

Cole Camp residents will sleep easier this week after hearing news of an arrest in the Cole Camp triple homicide.

Robert B. Blurton, 45, of Garnett, Kan., was arrested at 12:10 a.m. Saturday in his home. Blurton has been charged with three counts of murder and is being held on a $3 million cash-only bond.

On June 9, the bodies of Donald R. Luetjen, 64, Sharon Luetjen, 61, and their granddaughter, Taron D. Luetjen, 15, were found at their home on West Elm Street. The Luetjens each died of a single gunshot wound.

According to police officials, Blurton, also known as Robbie, is the nephew of Sharon Luetjen.

Johnson County Sheriff Charles Heiss, who is also leading the Missouri Rural Major Case Squad, announced during a news conference Saturday, in front of about 200 Cole Camp residents, that the possible motive in the murders is robbery.

Heiss is crediting DNA evidence and a 911 call placed June 7 in Blurton’s arrest.

Rick Fajen, Benton County sheriff, said the department will not release what was said during the 911 call, but “that 911 call was extremely beneficial.”

“This has been a very lengthy and very thorough investigation,” Heiss said.

Missouri State Highway Patrol, Cole Camp Police Department, Benton County Sheriff’s Department, and other law enforcement agencies have worked 1,700 man hours on the case, Heiss said.

“This investigation is by no means over,” Heiss said.

Officials said that they are looking for one or more suspects involved in murders.

Investigators have not pinned down the exact time of the murders and are not releasing information about anything possibly being stolen from the Luetjen home.

Cole Camp Mayor, Judy Harris, thanked the community, media and law enforcement agencies for their hard work.

“It has certainly taken a lot off my shoulders and my living here, and I’m sure the other citizens feel the same way,” Harris said.

Heiss said he is still seeking information about the crime.

“We still need your help,” Heiss said.

Officers plan to meet Tuesday to continue to discuss the investigation.

Anyone with information is asked to contact the Cole Camp Police Department at 660-668-2321, the Benton County Sheriff’s Department at 660-438-5252 or the Missouri State Highway Patrol, Troop A Headquarters, at 816-622-0800.

Democrat reporter Matthew Steingraber contributed to this report.