A second person has been arrested in the murder of Aaron M. Armantrout of Ste. Genevieve County.
Ste. Genevieve Sheriff’s Major Jason Schott said Wednesday evening that the Ste. Genevieve County Sheriff's Office has made another arrest in the investigation of murder and the individual is in custody at the Ste. Genevieve County Detention Center.
“Once formal charges have been issued, more details will be released,” Schott said. “We do anticipate more arrests in this case.”
Aaron’s wife, Susan J. Armantrout, 41, of Ste. Genevieve County, was taken into custody this weekend and was already charged with a class A felony of murder in the first degree, felony armed criminal action and a class E felony of abandonment of a corpse. She is being held in the Ste. Genevieve County Jail on a $1 million cash only bond.
Deputies were called to the Armantrout home early Friday morning to speak with Aaron about threats his wife had been making for the last few months to kill him. At the time Aaron had declined to file a formal complaint despite the deputy’s encouragement for him to do so.
On Saturday at 12:02 p.m., the same deputy was dispatched to call Aaron’s father, who reported that his son was missing. The father told the deputy that his son had recent problems with his wife making death threats toward him. The man told the deputy that Aaron was supposed to meet his sister the day before, but never showed up.
The man said family members went to Aaron's home located in the 17,000 block of Route D in Ste. Genevieve County looking for him Saturday morning. Aaron was not home and his BMW was also gone. The father told the deputy that a family friend had just left the residence and told him the house smelled like bleach.
On Saturday morning, more deputies with Ste. Genevieve Sheriff’s Department were informed of the situation and everyone was asked to leave the home while an investigation was underway.
Deputies went inside the house to ensure there was no one else in there and no one was in need of medical assistance. It was noted in the report that when they entered the home there was a strong smell of cleaning chemicals and was the strongest in the master bedroom, where the couple slept.
The door leading into the master bedroom was locked and once the lock was picked and officers were able to get inside, they saw an area of carpet that had been recently cleaned. They also saw cleaning supplies in the adjoining bathroom.
Deputies reported that it was unclear where Armantrout was and a search began for both Aaron and Armantrout, to determine what or if anything had happened to either of them. Aaron was listed as a missing person and Armantrout was listed as wanted for questioning.
After the sheriff’s department was done investigating the home, it was turned back over to the reporting party who was there for the deputy’s initial arrival at the home. It was also noted in the report that the portion of the carpet in the master bedroom was wet with an extreme odor of bleach.
At 10:34 p.m. Sunday the sheriff’s department was called by an officer who told him Armantrout had been located and detained at a home in the 100 block of Dover St. in Bonne Terre. It was later discovered the home was an acquaintance of Armantrout’s and the woman reported that the woman had confessed to her that she had killed her husband, Aaron, by shooting him.
Armantrout was taken into custody and transported to the Ste. Genevieve County Jail and the truck she had been driving was secured by law enforcement and later towed to the Ste. Genevieve County Sheriff’s Office Impound Yard.
When the Ste. Genevieve deputy arrived at the Bonne Terre Police Department, he spoke with the Bonne Terre woman regarding statements made to her by Armantrout pertaining to her husband’s death. The woman told the deputy that Armantrout had arrived at her home earlier Sunday evening at 7:30 p.m.
She said that Armantrout was not a close friend and that she was acquainted with her because she once dated her nephew. She also said she was aware law enforcement was searching for Armantrout and Aaron due to the media reports and was surprised Armantrout had come to her home, of all places, because of their somewhat distant relationship.
The woman said that she had spoken to Armantrout in her bedroom and Armantrout told her that she had killed her husband, Aaron, by shooting him. She told the woman that she placed his body in the trunk of the BMW and jammed the lock.
Early Monday morning, officers with the Ste. Genevieve County Sheriff’s Department interviewed another friend of Armantrout, who they believed, through the course of the investigation to have been in contact with her at or around the time that Aaron had gone missing.
During the course of the interview, the woman said that Armantrout admitted to her that she killed her husband by shooting him. She also said she had heard Armantrout on numerous occasions state she was going to kill her husband.
At 10:15 a.m. the deputy was notified by the Ste. Genevieve County Sheriff’s Jail that Armantrout had asked to speak with him. Armantrout was brought to the interview room and she immediately began telling him that she had shot and killed her husband.
The deputy reported that he did not interrupt Armantrout's confession until she stopped talking about murdering her husband. At that point, the deputy told Armantrout he needed to ask her some questions and advised her of her Miranda rights.
He said Armantrout gave a very detailed confession and said she had hidden the body in the BMW’s trunk and placed the car into a storage shed in Potosi. Armantrout also said she had shot her husband in the head with a pistol in the master bedroom and had cleaned up the scene using a type of cleaner with bleach in it.
She said she alone dragged her husband’s lifeless body through the garage and put him into his car. She said she drove the body to Potosi and was picked up by her friend, who was driving her pickup truck.
Armantrout described the location where she hid the body and BMW as a storage locker located at 8 and U Storage in Potosi. During the course of the investigation, the lieutenant interviewed Armantrout's mother, who described Armantrout's attempt to shoot her husband the previous fall at Lake Hanna in St. Francois County.
Armantrout's niece said she had heard Armantrout make threats to kill her husband as well.
The friend who picked Armantrout up said she had been told by Armantrout that the one bullet she kept in the pistol was for killing her husband. The deputy reported that during the interview with Armantrout, she said she only had one bullet in her gun when she shot her husband in the head.
Armantrout appeared before Associate Circuit Judge Timothy Inman on Wednesday for arraignment.
Armantrout pleaded not guilty to the charges and filed an application for a court-appointed public defender to represent her. She will next appear for a setting of a preliminary hearing on Jan. 7.