Law enforcement officers raided two properties associated with a murder suspect in and near Purdy on Wednesday morning. The officers had search warrants that a sheriff says are related to the investigation of the murders of Rusty and Becky Porter in 2011 at their home north of Willard.
Barry County Sheriff Mike Epperly says his department's tactical personnel helped the Greene County Sheriff's Department, the Missouri Department of Revenue's Criminal Tax Bureau and the Purdy Police Department execute the search warrants. The two locations are on Caledonia Street in Purdy and on Highway near Purdy.
The properties are associated with Robert Lee Campbell, who is one of the people charged with two counts of first-degree murder for the deaths of the Porters. Campbell is an uncle of Rusty Porter. He’s been free on bond since January after being charged in December 2012. Epperly says Campbell recently moved to Purdy; he used to live near the Porters on Highway HH in northern Greene County.
Officers arrested Campbell at a store in Monett on Wednesday. Epperly says he had a stolen semi-truck trailer with him. Campbell was in the Barry County jail on Wednesday afternoon on a 24-hour hold for the stolen trailer.
Officers serving the search warrants used flash-bang devices at one location to make sure nobody was inside. Eppperly says detectives took records and telephones from the locations. Epperly says the search was connected to the Porters’ murders in Greene County, but could not say how. No one at the Greene County Sheriff's Department returned a reporter's call about the searches.
The Porters disappeared from their home in April 2011. Their buried bodies turned up in July 2011 in a remote rural area of the Mark Twain National Forest in Taney County near Protem.
Autopsies showed the Porters were each shot in the head. Investigators have concluded that they were killed in Taney County.
A Taney County grand jury indicted five people for two counts each of first-degree murder in the fall of 2012. The others who are charged besides Campbell are Tony Friend, Windy Friend, Phillip Friend and Dusty Hicks.
Tony and Windy Friend are married to each other. Phillip Friend is a son of Tony Friend.
Phillip Friend pleaded guilty to two counts of second-degree murder and two counts of felonious restraint last spring. He's serving a seven-year prison sentence for felonious restraint but has not yet been sentenced on the murder convictions.
The Taney County prosecuting attorney decided last month not to seek death penalties against the other four suspects if they are convicted of first-degree murder.
Doug Owen, assignment editor, contributed to this report.