Benton County, Mo., man arrested for death of woman found wrapped in blanket and trash bags

Published: May. 20, 2023 at 7:27 AM CDT|Updated: May. 20, 2023 at 7:14 PM CDT
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WARSAW, Mo. (KY3) - The Benton County Sheriff’s Office arrested a man for the death of his girlfriend, according to Benton County Sheriff Eric Knox.

Deputies arrested Robert Ashley Peterson, 54. He faces a first-degree murder charge for Finlay’s death. He remains jailed in Benton County without a bond.

Deputies responded to a home in Warsaw on May 18 after two women called and said their friend had been missing since May 15. When deputies arrived, they found a body wrapped in a blanket and trash bags.

“The citizens took it upon themselves to take matters into their own hands, which I don’t recommend, but it worked out in this case, because without that we may not have had a case,” said Sheriff Knox.

Warsaw death investigation
Warsaw death investigation(KY3)

The body was examined by the Jackson County Medical Examiner and was identified as 57-year-old Lori Beth Finlay. The report stated she had been shot multiple times.

Sheriff Knox says earlier in the week, Finlay was seen willingly getting into a car with Peterson but says the relationship between Finlay and Peterson is still under investigation.

Sheriff Knox tells KY3 Peterson does have a past of domestic violence. Sheriff Knox does expect more charges to come from this incident after a full autopsy and more evidence can be found.

“It’s a very fresh, ongoing, very heinous crime. And it’s going to take a little bit to get through it, but he is in custody, and he’s not going anywhere,” said Sheriff Knox.

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