- Associated Press - Wednesday, July 29, 2015

OZARK, Mo. (AP) - Automatic weapons and weapon parts, including silencers, have gone missing from the Christian County Sheriff’s Department, according to the interim sheriff.

Interim Sheriff Dwight McNiel said in a new report that the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives is helping his department investigate what happened to the missing weapons and gear. He said it may have been “legitimately transferred to another agency or authorized (Federal Firearms Licensed) firearms dealer,” The Springfield News-Leader reported (https://sgfnow.co/1SMy8ba ).

McNiel wrote that the department suffered from poor record-keeping, operational flaws and a lack of accountability, but that the missing weapons are “one of the most disturbing things.”

The ATF conducted inventories of the sheriff’s department that led to the discovery of the missing weapons, the report said. The ATF’s Springfield office didn’t immediately respond to a message seeking comment left Wednesday by The Associated Press.

It’s unclear how many weapons and specifically what types of automatic weapons are involved. The report said “silencers, suppressors, and full automatic trigger components are also gone with no paper trail.”

The report said former Sheriff Joey Kyle, with “assistance from others,” took a “large cache of weapons” from the sheriff’s department on May 19, the day before he pleaded guilty to embezzlement and aiding a fraud scheme. Those weapons were later returned to the department and the FBI by Kyle’s attorney, the report said. Kyle resigned in May.

The report said witnesses “have reluctantly come forward with statements regarding their observations during the course of that evening (May 19),” but the report does not detail any of those statements.

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Information from: Springfield News-Leader, https://www.news-leader.com


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