With a primary suspect charged, the Pettis County Sheriff’s Office has completed most of its investigation into last week’s shooting outside Sedalia.
Sheriff Kevin Bond said detectives are still looking into a few leads in the case.
“The major part of the investigation is complete,” he said. “I was very pleased with the way the investigation went, and we were able to come to a successful conclusion with it.”
Noah A. Kelliker, 18, of Marshall, has been arrested and charged in connection with the shooting death of Cassandra L. White, 21. Pettis County Prosecutor Phillip Sawyer charged Kelliker late Friday night with second-degree murder, armed criminal action and two counts of unlawful use of a weapon.
White was found dead the night of Jan. 9 with multiple gunshot wounds in her residence at the Western View Estates Trailer Park on Oak Grove Lane. The trailer park is located just north of Sedalia’s western city limits.
Bond said a neighbor called dispatch at 8:26 p.m. to report shots fired in the trailer park. Deputies arrived but didn’t find any suspicious activity, according to a Sheriff’s Office news release.
Based on witness reports, the shooter likely fled the scene immediately after firing, Bond said.
Sheriff’s dispatch received a second call at 10:09 p.m. of a woman with gunshot wounds at a residence in the trailer park. White’s boyfriend, Joseph Nebergall, arrived home to find White on the floor and called 911, according to a probable cause statement from Detective Tollie Rowe.
When Nebergall came home, White’s infant son was laying on the couch next to where White lay on the floor. Their other son, who is about 2, was in a front bedroom. Neither child was injured in the shooting.
Deputies arrived at the residence soon after receiving the 911 call. They found two 9 mm bullet shell casings outside the front door, one gold and one silver, according to the probable cause statement.
Three holes in the trailer’s front door were consistent with bullet holes. Rowe found another hole in the living room window and a bullet in the cushion of a recliner in the front room.
The front glass door was shattered, which was consistent with a bullet being fired through the front door into the residence, according to the statement.
Examination of the scene showed three to four rounds were fired. Deputies also found at the scene a large amount of green plant material that tested positive for marijuana.
After speaking with Nebergall, Rowe learned he was involved in the sale or distribution of marijuana, according to the statement. The detective verified Nebergall was not present at the shooting, as he took a friend to Marshall and found White when he returned.
Rowe received a phone call Thursday from Sgt. Rich Matteson from the Oregon County Sheriff’s Office, which received an anonymous online tip.
“Suspect killed a girl, names Cassie in Sedalia, MO yesterday,” the tip said. “She was shot through the door of her trailer/the suspect is homeless and living in his vehicle.”
The suspect was identified as Kelliker, according to the statement. The tip said he was staying at the Masters Ranch in southeast Missouri.
He was reportedly sleeping in the private residence of the pastor at the ranch, which serves and educates at-risk boys. The tip also mentioned he had a gun in his vehicle.
Matteson and Oregon County deputies located Kelliker and his vehicle and took him into custody on a Saline County probation violation warrant. Matteson said he could see a black semi-automatic pistol through the window of the vehicle.
The same day, Rowe and Pettis County Sgt. Curtis Hammonds drove to the Oregon County Sheriff’s Office in Alton. They processed Kelliker’s vehicle for evidence after Matteson obtained a search warrant.
In the vehicle, they found a black 9 mm pistol with the capacity to hold 17 bullet rounds, according to the probable cause statement. The magazine contained 13 rounds with both gold and silver bullets, suggesting four were missing.
Rowe said in his statement they also found a receipt from a business in Sedalia dated Jan. 7, meaning Kelliker was in the city two days before the homicide. Another 9 mm silver casing was in the back seat area of the vehicle.
Hammonds and Rowe examined the clothing Kelliker wore at the time of his arrest. They could clearly see a large amount of what appeared to be dried blood on the front and back of the shirt, according to the statement.
Bond said his office is sending the shirt to a Missouri State Highway Patrol forensic lab. Detectives will likely have to wait at least six weeks for results.
Forensic examination should indicate whether the substance on the shirt was blood and if it was blood connected with White’s death, Bond said.
On Friday, Rowe and Hammonds attempted to speak with Kelliker, who told them he didn’t want to speak without an attorney present. According to the statement, Kelliker said a moment later without prompting he “might know something” and appeared to start to cry.