State police in Ullin, Ill., said Wednesday there has been an arrest in the killing of a teenager from Normal.
Haley Decker, 18, went missing March 4. Her body was found March 26 in the Cypress Creek National Wildlife Refuge in rural Pulaski County.
The Missouri State Highway Patrol said James A. Merritt, 32, of Morehouse, Mo., was arrested April 16 and initially charged with trafficking for the purpose of sexual exploitation. Illinois State Police and the FBI searched Merritt’s residence that day.
As a result of the search, troopers said the New Madrid County, Mo., Prosecuting Attorney’s Office formally charged Merritt with first degree murder, armed criminal action, and tampering with physical evidence.
Merritt remains in custody at the Mississippi County Detention Center, with no bond.
The ongoing investigation also involved Normal Police, the New Madrid County Sheriff’s Office, Sikeston Department of Public Safety, and the Cape Girardeau and Morehouse police departments, all in Missouri.
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