- The Washington Times - Sunday, August 20, 2006

DREXEL, Mo. (AP) — Investigators yesterday scoured a rural property for the remains of as many as six persons who they suspect were the victims of drug-related killings.

Police have arrested a tenant of a house on the property and refer to him as a suspect in their investigation, though he is charged only with violating his probation. The man, whom police haven’t identified, is accused of possessing weapons as a felon. Investigators provided no other details about him or his criminal record.

He is being held on $25,000 bail. Police said they expect to file additional charges this week.

Though police say they think the human remains are tied to drug-related killings, they have declined to elaborate.

Bone fragments were found late Friday on the property northeast of Drexel in western Missouri, Cass County Sheriff’s Cpl. Kevin Tieman said. The search began after the suspect told officers he knew about homicides committed on the property, he said.

Though the bones might have come from graves or medical cadavers, the case is being investigated as a multiple homicide, Sheriff Dwight Diehl said.

The bone fragments that have been identified as human by a forensic anthropologist were 1 to 1 inches in diameter. The fragments found so far had been on or near the surface of the ground, Cpl. Tieman said.

“There are no areas where we are going to have to do heavy digging,” he said.

Cpl. Tieman refused to indicate why investigators suspect six bodies are on the property, but said residents should not be concerned that a serial killer was in the area or that the killings were random.

“The common thread between the suspect and the victims was some sort of drug activity,” Cpl. Tieman said, but the victims’ identities and how they died have not been established.

The deaths occurred over about five years, during the time the suspect lived in the house, investigators said. The most recent remains are several months old, Cpl. Tieman said.

He said officers had no reason to suspect bodies were on the property until the resident of the house started talking after his arrest. Investigators would not characterize the man’s statements as a confession. Cpl. Tieman said the suspect did not identify any victims.

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