A Hallsville man is in police custody after knowingly leaving a body in a hotel room in Columbia, according to court documents.
Kenneth C. Jones, 32, was arrested Thursday on charges on abandonment of a corpse and tampering with physical evidence, both felonies. He is being held in the Boone County Jail on a $25,000 bond. He also was arrested on Jefferson City and Cole County failure to appear warrants for stealing.
His initial arraignment was held Friday.
Columbia Police Department officers reported at about 3 p.m. Monday to the Suburban Extended Stay Hotel at 3100 Wingate Court.
A woman was found deceased in a third-floor room that had various drug paraphernalia throughout, according to a probable cause statement. Field testing revealed the presence of methamphetamine and fentanyl.
There were ice cubes under the woman’s body and in her pants. The air conditioner for the room was set to 67 degrees F. Columbia officer Kyle Joseph noted in the probable cause that he was aware this is a method used to cool down the core body temperature of a person experiencing a drug overdose.
Joseph contacted the deceased woman’s parents who identified Jones as someone she knew.
Joseph reviewed surveillance footage from the hotel to determine the last people to enter and exit the hotel room.
In review of the footage, Joseph saw Jones and another individual exit the elevator and enter the room at about 9 a.m. Monday. Neither were attempting to hide their identity, but the other person was wearing a face mask, Joseph noted.
The other individual was not identified by name in the probable cause and was not included in the Boone County Sheriff’s Office 7 a.m. report of incarcerations Friday.
Around 11:30 a.m. Monday, both Jones and the other individual exited the room, having changed clothes. They were wearing face coverings and hooded sweatshirts, according to the probable cause. They both left with a large amount of luggage via the stairs and an emergency exit. They continued on foot toward Keene Street.
The pair were the last people in the room with the woman prior to a hotel staff member discovering the woman’s body later Monday afternoon.
Jones admitted to Joseph during a post-Miranda interview about being in the room on the other bed and hearing the woman snoring.
He told the officer he had put the ice underneath the woman and in her pants in an attempt to revive her. The woman was clearly deceased and could not be brought back, Jones said during the interview, according to the probable cause.
Jones took all of his belongings and the woman’s cell phone from the room, Joseph noted about the interview. Jones admitted to his attempt to conceal his identity after leaving the room and not calling the police. He also admitted to deleting content from the cell phone, according to the probable cause.