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Monroe City residents react to woman’s alleged murder

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Amanda Johnston
Monroe CIty-Asbell Ellsworth-08082020
Jerry Asbell Jr. 29 (left) | Jessica Ellsworth, 37 (right)

A city of only about 2,500 people, Monroe City, Missouri residents said Amanda Johnston's apparent murder has hit the community hard.

Local business owner Terry Gibbs said it's a situation that's both shocking and sad.

"The young girl [Johnston] has been in the Dug-Out Sports Bar before and had lunch and she's always been very nice very cordial with us and it's just sad," he said.

The Missouri State Highway Patrol remains tight lipped about what exactly happened to Johnston after she was reported missing and her apartment was found burglarized on Wednesday.

Authorities found the 32-year-old Johnston's body around 5:00 a.m. in Northern Pike County, Missouri off of Route B, south of Frankford.

Two other Monroe City residents are behind bars, charged in connection with her alleged murder.

"Jerry B. Asbell Jr. a 29 year-old male from Monroe City is in custody right now on formal charges that have been filed by the Monroe County prosecuting attorney's office for a Class A Felony Murder in the First Degree and a Federal Armed Criminal Action," Missouri State Highway Patrol corporal Justin Dunn said.

39-year-old Jessica Ellsworth is charged with Tampering with Physical Evidence in a Felony Prosecution.

The MSHP stated that a preliminary investigation revealed that Asbell shot Johnson on Wednesday at 3:11 a.m. in the St. Jude Cemetery in Monroe City.

Community members said they feel safer with the suspects now in custody, but said they're still uneasy.

"I went from house to house making sure that everybody had there doors locked and stayed inside," Gibbs added.

Both suspects are being held with no bond set.

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Charity Bell

Multimedia Journalist at WGEM

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