Rebecca R. Sutton was 19 years old
when she vanished from her apartment on
Thursday morning, Taney County Prosecuting Attorney Jeffrey Merrell charged Philip Lynn Dodd, 40, with 1st degree Murder. Dodd is being held at the Algoa Correctional Center for a 14-year sentence for robbery. Merrell says Dodd confessed to the crime.
According to court documents (below), Dodd was a person of interest from the beginning of the investigation. According to the probable cause statement, Rebecca Sutton, referred to as "R. Sutton" in the documents, called a friend and said a man named "Philip" just stopped by her apartment.
Sutton told the friend that "Philip" was Sutton's "ex-boyfriend's cousin's husband." Sutton went on to tell the friend that "Philip" attempted to kiss her while she sat on her couch and then later followed her into the kitchen.
Investigators interviewed Dodd three days after Sutton disappeared. Court papers say Dodd actually approached Hollister Police to ask about Sutton's missing person case.
"During this interview, Dodd provided investigators with conflicting information about the events that transcribed [sic] on March 20 and 21, 2003," the documents read.
Missouri State Highway Patrol Investigator Dan Nash talked to Dodd on March 4 and 8, 2013. During the March 8 interview, Dodd told Nash he had not been completely honest in previous interviews. Dodd said he went to Sutton's apartment to use drugs and "attempt to obtain sex."
The documents also say Dodd admitted being present when Sutton died, wrapping up her body in bed sheets, and transporting her body to a wilderness area and putting under a rock outcropping.
A news conference was held Thursday afternoon at the Taney County Judicial Building in Forsyth. Investigators were tight-lipped about what brought them back to Dodd after nearly a decade, but his admission means the Sutton family may soon see justice.
Though the family did not want to be interviewed, the anguish on their faces -- even after ten years -- was evident.
"It's always fulfilling for us as law enforcement and for the family," says Nash. "We do what we can do for the family to try and help them out to get to this point. And now we'll continue with the process hear to bring a resolution."
The crime was investigated by the Missouri State Highway Patrol, Hollister Police Department, and the Taney County Sheriff's Department.