Four suspects have been charged after the torched body of a black man was found in Iowa ditch in Iowa
The body of Michael Williams, 44, was found in a ditch near Kellogg. it had been set on fire
Three men and one woman, all from Grinnell, Iowa have been arrested in connection with the murder
Steven Vogel, 27, is charged with first-degree murder and abuse of a corpse – He was already in custody on unrelated charges
Cody Johnson, 29, is charged with abuse of a corpse and aggravated misdemeanor
57-year-old Roy Lee Garner and Julia Cox, 55, have been charged with abuse of a corpse, destruction of evidence, and aggravated misdemeanor
Attack was not believed to be racially motivated, according to a statement from the Iowa Department of Public Safety
Williams was acquainted with Vogel and the pair often socialized within the same circle of friends
Investigators believe Williams was killed on September 12 in Grinnell
The body was then wrapped in cloth and plastic, which was secured with rope and tape, then transported to rural Kellogg on September 16, where it was set ablaze
Four people have been charged after the burning corpse of a black man was found in a ditch next to a roadside in Iowa. Authorities said the body of Michael Williams, 44, of Grinnell, Iowa, was found in a ditch near Kellogg. It had been set on fire.
Four suspects, three men and a woman have been arrested in connection with a case the Iowa Division of Criminal Investigation is treating the incident as a homicide. There is no evidence to suggest the killing was race related, the bureau said.
One of men arrested, Steven Vogel, faces charges of first-degree murder and abuse of a corpse, according to the Iowa Department of Public Safety.
Vogel is currently at the Marshall County Jail, where he was already in custody on unrelated charges.
Also arrested were 55-year old Julia Cox, 57-year-old Roy Lee Garner, and 29-year-old Cody Johnson, all of Grinnell.
Cox and Garner have been charged with one count of abuse of a corpse, destruction of evidence, and aggravated misdemeanor.
Johnson was charged with abuse of a corpse and aggravated misdemeanor. All three are being held at the Poweshiek County jail.
A statement from the Department of Public Safety said that the victim was acquainted with Vogel and the pair often socialized within the same circle of friends.
‘The investigation has revealed no evidence to show the acts against Michael Williams were motivated by his race nor that his death was the result of a hate crime,’ the statement read.
At around 5.30pm last Wednesday evening, officers were alerted to a fire in a ditch near Mariposa County Park. Responding emergency personnel identified the burning object as a human body.
Examination of the scene led investigators to believe the victim died as the result of a homicide.
Williams was killed September 12 in Grinnell and his body was then wrapped in cloth and plastic, which was secured with rope and tape, then transported to rural Kellogg on September 16, where it was set ablaze, investigators said.
Speaking to KCCI, Williams’ ex-wife and the mother of his five children Janalee Boldt described him as a ‘family person’ whose kids were ‘always important.’
‘My daughter will not let me outside in the dark by myself because she’s afraid of losing another parent,’ Boldt said.
The family and friends are now waiting to see justice for their father. They have set up a GoFundMe page as they work to raise money to bury him back home in New York once the investigation is over.