First degree murder charges have been filed in the death of a 13-year-old Iberia girl. Steven Neal Henderson, 30, of Iberia was charged with first degree murder and armed criminal action by the Miller County Prosecuting Attorney in the death of Macala Shelton. He is being held on $500,000 in the Miller County jail.
Officers found Shelton's body Sunday morning in a wooded area outside of Iberia in southeastern Miller County.
Shelton was the subject of a Missouri State Highway Patrol endangered person advisory over the weekend. The Highway Patrol issued the advisory for Shelton Saturday afternoon.
According to the advisory, a security camera on the home was discovered disconnected from within the home at the scene. Authorities declined to discuss the surveillance camera.
The Missouri State Highway Patrol retracted the endangered person advisory early Sunday morning. The advisory retraction stated the "Missing juvenile has been located." Late Sunday afternoon, authorities confirmed the child's death.
Shelton was last seen wearing a baseball shirt with a neon yellow '8' on it, black shorts and black glasses.
A probable cause statement filed in the case states that when officers took Henderson in for questioning, "a statement was made where he detailed how he stabbed [Shelton] with a large survival knife." Henderson then allegedly detailed where he disposed of the murder weapon.
Officers obtained a search warrant for 102 St. Louis Street and located the weapon at the residence. He appeared in person at an arraignment Monday morning, where he requested representation by a public defender. Henderson is being held at the Miller County Jail on a $500,000 bond.
Officers also arrested Henderson's brother and Shelton's stepfather, 33-year-old Jerry Henderson II, also of 102 St. Louis Street. Henderson II was charged with felony unlawful possession of a firearm. A separate probable cause statement indicated that during the death investigation at 102 St. Louis Street, officers located "multiple firearms including a large cache of ammunition in the bedroom belonging to Jerry Henderson II." The statement described Henderson II possessing "several hundred pounds" of ammunition and hundreds of assault rifle magazines.
Henderson II has a past conviction for second degree arson out of Miller County. He is also being held at the Miller County Jail on $50,000 bond.
According to a press release from Miller County Sheriff Bill Abbott, an autopsy has been scheduled and the investigation is ongoing.
The Miller County Sheriff's Department and the Missouri State Highway Patrol are the leading the investigation into Shelton's death. During a press conference Monday afternoon, Abbott said the investigation is far from over.
People in the small town of Iberia are shocked. The murder of the 13-year-old has shaken many residents who have known of the Henderson family for years. Many of the residents had joined law enforcement in their efforts on Saturday to locate the missing 13-year-old. In the end, the child's body was found about six miles from her home.
Page 2 of 2 - Macala Shelton was living with her grandmother and stepfather while her mother was deployed with the U.S. Army in Afghanistan.The child's parents were divorced. Authorities did not say how long the child's mother, Melissa, had been married to Jerry Henderson II.
Late Saturday afternoon, she was reported missing by family members. Her body was later discovered at an abandoned farm that was used for hunting. The man charged with her murder, Steven Henderson, is believed to have been a caretaker of the property, mowing the grass and handling of other odd jobs for the people who owned the property. The property owners were described as friends of the family by Miller County authorities.
The 13-year-old had just finished the seventh grade at the Iberia School at the time of her death. It was unclear how long Shelton had lived with her grandmother.
According to neighbors, it wasn't uncommon to see people coming and going from the residence. Four other children who lived in the home were removed from the residence. As many as six adults, including Steven Henderson, Jerry Henderson II and Jerry Henderson Senior shared the residence.
Abbott said there had been a number of calls involving social services, juvenile authorities and law enforcement. To his knowledge, he said none of those calls were drug related or involved Macala, Steven Henderson or Jerry Henderson II. He did say some were related to domestic incidents and hotline calls to social services.