Investigators Find Up to 6 Bodies Buried on Missouri Farm
DREXEL, Mo. – A Missouri man who police say confessed to killing, dismembering and burning the bodies of seven men in his bedroom fireplace was charged Sunday with one count of murder.
Michael Lee Shaver Jr., 33, was charged with first-degree murder and armed criminal action related to a killing around the fall 2001.
Shaver, who police say spontaneously confessed after he was arrested following a failed carjacking, told investigators that he had shot and killed seven people at his residence during drug transactions so he could take their money and drugs, Cass County Sheriff's Capt. Chuck Stocking said.
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Shaver claimed that after he killed the men -- all between the ages of 20 and 40 and from the Kansas City area -- he dismembered the bodies, burned the parts in a fireplace in his bedroom, then used a hammer to crush large bones and skulls, authorities and the probable case statement said.
Shaver said he then spread the bone fragments around his back yard.
Investigators found bone fragments from two people Saturday on the plot of land northeast of Drexel in western Missouri, and were scouring the property for additional victims.
Authorities did not know when Shaver would be arraigned, and police didn't know whether he had an attorney.
Authorities said they aren't ruling out the possibility that he is exaggerating about the killings.
"He can say that he killed 50, but we have to prove that he actually did," Stocking said.
Shaver was arrested Friday after he and another man, Nathan Wasmer, 27, were in a speeding vehicle that went off the side of the road and wrecked, Stocking said. He said the two men tried to carjack a witness, but fled after they couldn't get into the woman's vehicle.
The witness told a 911 dispatcher that the two men were armed with guns. The men were tracked down to a residential area, where Wasmer surrendered after an hour-long standoff and Shaver was found about a half-hour later hiding in a nearby yard, officials said.
Stocking said Shaver told deputies as he was being placed into a patrol car that he knew of human remains on the wooded property where he lives, and that he wanted to talk to someone about it.
"It was a spontaneous statement he made while he was being interviewed for the carjacking," said Stocking.
"I didn't believe him," Stocking said. "I just flat didn't believe him."
The bone fragments that have been identified as human by a forensic anthropologist were 1- to 1 1/2-inches in diameter.
The deaths occurred over about five years, investigators said. The most recent remains are several months old, Cpl. Kevin Tieman said.
Neighbors described the suspect as a heavy drinking, loud, unfriendly man who they believed was involved in criminal activity.
"It's just all the traffic," neighbor Russ Feeback said. "Everyone likes it quiet and he's out here hollering and screaming. And every once in a while there would be a gunshot."
Neighbors said Shaver lived with his mother and her boyfriend or husband, and another man may have lived at the house. Shaver's mother, Shirley A. Bryson, 53, was released on bond Sunday on a charge of hindering prosecution, which stemmed from an incident at the house Thursday that involved Wasmer.