A local man pleaded guilty last month in St. Francois County to a charge of abandonment of a corpse. The man received the charge after his deceased mother was found in a storage shed in his back yard and had reportedly been there for several months.
Nicholas T. McClure, 52, of Farmington, withdrew his previous plea of “not guilty” and entered a guilty plea to the Class E felony charge of abandonment of a corpse. He was placed on five years of supervised probation and ordered to complete 40 hours of community service.
According to Lt. Jeff Crites of the Farmington Police Department, on Nov. 14, 2017, the department was contacted by family members living out in the area who were concerned after not having any contact with their mother for nearly a month.
Officers conducted a well-being check at an address in the 400 block of South Carleton Street in Farmington.
According to Crites, officers spoke with McClure, the woman’s son who lived with her at that address. McClure reportedly told officers the 85-year-old woman was traveling out of state.
Attempts were made to contact the missing woman using the cell phone number provided by the son, and a missing person’s report was filed.
After attempts to contact were unsuccessful, officers with the department – along with assistance from the Missouri State Highway Patrol – found forensic cell phone data which showed the phone had never left Farmington.
During the investigation, Crites said, law enforcement officials returned to the home and requested that McClure come to the police department for further questioning. During the course of the interview, McClure disclosed his mother had passed away on Oct. 15, 2017.
He told investigators where her body was located, in an outbuilding at the home.
Crites said an autopsy showed there were no signs of foul play and it's believed the women died from natural causes at home.
According to the probable cause statement by investigators, McClure was charged with the act of abandonment of a corpse by failing to properly report the Oct. 15, 2017 death of his mother, Nydia McClure, to law enforcement officials in St. Francois County.
The report states McClure “further committed the act by constructing a makeshift coffin and wooden vault, which contained the corpse of Nydia McClure, which was hidden in an outbuilding located at the McClure residence.” The report also states he “kept the death and location of Nydia McClure’s corpse from his two siblings and law enforcement by using subterfuge (deceit) when attempting to locate Nydia McClure.”
A reason the death was not reported by the son was not listed in court documents or revealed by the lead investigator in the case.
Bobby Radford is a reporter for the Daily Journal. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org