FULTON — A man arrested Thursday morning in Sedalia stands accused of killing a 6-year-old boy with Down’s Syndrome early Thursday near Fulton.
“Anytime you have a child death it’s bad. Even if it’s an adult and it’s a homicide it’s bad. Thank God we don’t see this a lot. If I never had one it would be OK with me,” said Callaway County Sheriff Dennis Crane.
Callaway County prosecutors on Thursday charged Scott Willet, 27, with first-degree murder and armed criminal action. His bond is $1 million cash-only. A hearing has not been set as of press time.
Crane released some new details about the killing during a press conference Thursday afternoon in Fulton. According to Crane, Willet was a family friend and had been staying with the family since January in the 7500 block of Primrose Lane where the murder occurred. Willet has prior addresses in Sedalia and Columbia.
He was babysitting the boy Thursday morning while the mother was working a 4 p.m. to 2:30 a.m. shift. Sometime while the victim’s mother was at work, Willet allegedly shot the young boy multiple times with a .40 caliber handgun.
“The suspect was living at the residence. He is not a family member but a friend of the family,” Crane said. “I know that he has been there since about January of this year. He has lived in Columbia as well as Sedalia. The mother was at work and Willet was the babysitter for the evening.”
At this time the sheriff said he cannot confirm a motive for the shooting death of the boy.
“Obviously we cannot go into details. We did interview the suspect but a lot of those details need to be saved for the jury to hear,” Crane said.
The victim’s mother arrived home some time after 2 a.m. Thursday. The sheriff said the child was reported missing around that time through a call from the victim’s grandmother and sheriff’s deputies arrived at the scene at 2:39 a.m.
After the victim’s mother arrived, Willet allegedly stole her late model silver Pontiac Grand Prix. Callaway County authorities issued an alert for the suspect and a vehicle stolen from the area with information that he might be in the Sedalia area.
A short time later the victim’s body was found concealed in Willet’s bedroom.
Pettis County Sheriff’s deputies and Sedalia Police Department officers arrested Willet at 6:38 a.m. Thursday at a trailer park in the 3500 block of South Grand Avenue on a warrant for littering.
SPD Officer Kyle Hayward assisted with the arrest. Willet was located through a cell phone “ping,” according to authorities.
“This morning we got a call from Callaway County that they had a person of interest in the Sedalia area,” Hayward said. “He was actually out in the county. The county asked for our assistance to come out and help them locate that individual. We got into the area where the phone was pinged and located the suspect vehicle.”
Hayward said officers knocked on the door and Willet was on the phone. He came outside and was detained.
“He was kind of verbally negative to us, but no physical altercation took place,” Hayward said.
A handgun found inside the vehicle, which is believed to have been stolen, is believed to be the murder weapon, according to Crane.