An area man faces manslaughter and evidence tampering charges related to the death of a Park Hills woman whose body was found in a wooded area in St. Joe State Park Thursday.
Robert James Clavier, 60, of Farmington, was charged in St. Francois County Friday with first-degree involuntary manslaughter and tampering with physical evidence in a felony prosecution.
According to a probable cause statement, the body of 33-year-old Kelly Eckhoff was found Thursday in a remote wooded area near the equestrian trail off Pimville Road in St. Joe State Park.
Officials said the area woman's body was found in the state park at about 11 a.m. Thursday when Missouri Department of Corrections personnel were conducting K-9 training exercises in the park.
The Mineral Area Major Case Squad was activated Thursday afternoon to assist the Missouri State Highway Patrol's Division of Drug and Crime Control with the investigation. Officials said an autopsy performed Friday morning did not determine the cause of Eckhoff's death, and investigators would have to wait for toxicology results, which could take up to 6-8 weeks.
People are also reading…
The charging documents state that information from Eckhoff's Facebook account led investigators to a person who had been associated with the woman. The individual reportedly provided investigators with a text message he received from Clavier. In the text, the report states that Clavier indicated Eckhoff was with him on Dec. 19. Clavier allegedly said he forcefully removed Eckhoff's nude body from his van.
The report states video surveillance from Rhodes 101 Convenience Store on Maple Street in Farmington showed Eckhoff at the store along with footage of Clavier's van.
During an interview with police, Clavier said he picked up Eckhoff at the convenience store and drove her to the equestrian trail parking lot. Clavier reportedly said he believed Eckhoff was overdosing, so he removed her nude body from his van.
The report states Clavier described Eckhoff's body as limp and said he pulled her a distance from his van. Clavier reportedly recalled Eckhoff asking him to "please not leave her out here" while she was being pulled from the vehicle.
A search of Clavier's cell phone location services confirmed he was at the remote wooded area where Eckhoff's body was recovered, according to police. The man reportedly told investigators that he threw Eckhoff's clothing out with her body. Officers were reportedly unable to locate any of the woman's clothing while conducting the investigation.
Clavier was booked at the St. Francois County Detention Center, where he remains in custody without bond. He is scheduled to make an initial court appearance on Tuesday.
Court records indicate Clavier is currently on felony probation in at least two prior cases. A search of the man's criminal history showed previous convictions for multiple offenses, including sodomy, statutory sodomy, statutory rape, two counts of forcible rape, domestic assault, stalking, failing to register as a sex offender, unlawful possession of a firearm, stealing, DWI, and two counts of tampering with a witness.
Bobby Radford is a reporter for the Daily Journal. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org