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Two charged in connection to missing woman’s death

Monroe CIty-Asbell Ellsworth-08082020

MONROE CITY, Mo. (WGEM) — A man and a woman have been charged following the alleged murder of a Monroe City, Missouri, woman, investigators said Saturday.

Amanda Johnston

The Missouri State Highway Patrol (MSHP) reported that formal charges were filed Saturday against Jerry Asbell Jr., 29, and Jessica Ellsworth, 37, both of Monroe City.

MSHP stated Asbell is charged with Murder in the First Degree and Armed Criminal Action.

Ellsworth is charged with Tampering with Physical Evidence in a Felony Prosecution.

The MSHP stated that a preliminary investigation revealed that Asbell shot Amanda Johnston, 32, on Wednesday at 3:11 a.m. in the St. Jude Cemetery in Monroe City.

Asbell was in the Marion County Jail and Ellsworth was in the Macon County Jail on Saturday. Both were held with no bond.

The body of Johnston, who had been missing since Wednesday, was found Saturday morning in northern Pike County, Missouri, according to the MSHP.

St. Jude Cemetery, Monroe City

Johnston went missing Wednesday. Sgt. Eric Brown with the Missouri State Highway Patrol said the incident started around 1 p.m. on Wednesday when the Monroe City Police Department (MCPD) was called to Johnston's house.

Sgt. Brown said a person who knew Johnston had gone by her house and found it had been broken into.

MSHP officials reported Wednesday that they had burglary suspects in custody, on Monday they confirmed that Asbell was one of those arrested.

MCPD then requested assistance from the Missouri State Highway Patrol. The Division of Drug and Crime Control and the Northeast Missouri Major Case Squad responded to the case.

No further information, including motive, was released.

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Jim Roberts

Social Media & Digital Content Manager

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