Charges against a Laddonia truck driver who allegedly admitted to killing an Ohio man could be upgraded after authorities confirmed the death was a homicide.


Charges against a Laddonia truck driver who allegedly admitted to killing an Ohio man could be upgraded after authorities confirmed the death was a homicide.
The victim was identified as 20-year-old James William Boyd McNeely. Authorities have not said where in Ohio he was from.
A medical examiner made the homicide determination after a weekend autopsy, and the investigation continued Monday.
“There’s several investigators from the sheriff’s department and the Highway Patrol working on the investigation,” said Capt. James Shrader of the Audrain County Sheriff’s Department. “We’re trying to move forward as quick as possible.”
Shrader declined further comment. Audrain County Prosecuting Attorney Jason Lamb was not available for comment Monday.
The case began with a tip to the Missouri Highway Patrol on Dec. 21.
Audrain sheriff’s deputies found McNeely’s body Dec. 22 inside the refrigerated trailer of a semi truck parked along U.S. Highway 54 near a former convenience store on the east side of Vandalia.
Thirty-eight-year-old Chester C. Harvey Jr. of Laddonia was arrested Dec. 23 after a 20-hour standoff ended peacefully.
Police previously said Harvey’s family knew the victim, but have not elaborated on the relationship.
As of Monday, the only charges Harvey faced were felony kidnapping and felony abandonment of a corpse.
His 19-year-old son, Chad M. Harvey, of Eolia, also was charged with abandonment of a corpse.
But in a probable cause statement, Chester Harvey reportedly told an informant he killed a man he had picked up in California and stored the victim in his rig’s trailer while he figured out how to “dispose of the body.”
According to the statement, Harvey had been “co-habitating with the decedent...and knowingly left the corpse...without properly reporting the location of the body” to law enforcement.
The truck had been leased to Harvey and the trailer belonged to an undisclosed company.
Authorities say Harvey held his wife and four children hostage at their home on Young Street in Laddonia, releasing a seven-year-old and a 16-year-old on Dec. 22.
A nine-year-old son who uses a wheelchair and was overdue for a dialysis treatment, was released early on Dec. 23.
Thirty-four-year-old Angela Dawn Harvey and a 14-year-old child were released a few hours later. Chad Harvey was arrested the same day.
The probable cause statement said that Chester Harvey was a danger to the community because he had claimed he would “go down in a blaze of glory.”
Court records show the couple had financial problems, including a judgment of almost $21,000 against him for breaking a contract with Peterbilt trucks and breach of contract claims against both by
banks or credit unions for more than $7,700.
Records also show that Chad Harvey was scheduled to appear in a Hannibal courtroom on Jan. 8 on a charge of passing a bad check in Marion County on March 21, 2009.
Chester Harvey and Chad Harvey were being held Monday without bond at the Audrain County Jail in Mexico. Both have court appearances at 9 a.m. Jan. 13.
Crime Stoppers was offering a reward of up to $1,000 for additional information in the case. Tips may be left at 1-800-392-8477.