MILLER COUNTY, Mo. (KY3) – Authorities are moving forward with an investigation after a man wanted in connection to four Missouri deaths was recently found dead in South Dakota.
Authorities found JT McLean dead in a car at a motel near Sioux City, and investigators say he died by suicide.
Boone County, Mo. authorities already charged him with murder in the August 22 deaths of 43-year-old Allison Abitz and her 11-year-old daughter in their home south of Columbia. According to the Miller County Sheriff’s Office, he is also believed to be connected to the deaths of a couple in Kaiser at their home. A well-being check by deputies earlier this week led to the discovery of the bodies of Daniel Stephan, 74 and Pamela Stephan, 64.
Autopsies for Daniel and Pam Stephan are scheduled for Monday in Columbia, but results of those autopsies may not be available for several weeks, per the Miller County Sheriff’s Office.
The Union County Sheriff’s Office in South Dakota has executed a search warrant and obtained several items of interest. Detectives from Miller County and Boone County, in addition to the Missouri State Highway Patrol, are expected to travel to South Dakota next week to assist with the investigation.
McLean escaped custody for several weeks. The U.S. Marshal’s Service had contacted the Union County Sheriff’s Office late Wednesday night, saying McLean was likely in Dakota Dunes, South Dakota. Marshals said McLean stole a vehicle from one of the victims in Miller County. Investigators used OnStar to track it to the area. In addition, McLean had family in the Dakota Dunes area. McLean’s vehicle was eventually located at the motel. Several law enforcement agencies joined the sheriff’s office in an attempt to arrest him.
Authorities said they used “nonlethal means” as they attempted to make contact with McLean. They received no response. A drone was deployed over the vehicle, which found McLean had appeared to die by a self-inflicted gunshot wound.
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Investigation moves forward after man, suspected multiple deaths in central Missouri, found dead in South Dakota