Court documents say murder victim kidnapped before being shot

7 months 1 week 2 days ago Wednesday, July 12 2017 Jul 12, 2017 Wednesday, July 12, 2017 1:35:00 PM CDT July 12, 2017 in News
By: Steve Lambson, News Content Manager

AUDRAIN COUNTY - A Columbia man whose body was found near Centralia was kidnapped before his murder, according probable cause statements filed after the arrests of two suspects.

Investigators arrested Richard Henry and Arline Diedrich for the murder of Leon Wilder, found dead on July 6. According to court documents, a passerby found Wilder in a ditch on Audrain County Road 997. When a Centralia police officer arrived, he found people doing CPR on Wilder, but the victim was dead by the time medics arrived.

While investigating the scene, police determined Wilder had been shot in the head. They also found a seat belt latch near where Wilder's body was discovered. Based on evidence, investigators concluded he had been driven to that location, and was bleeding while sitting upright.

On July 7, investigators got a tip about two witnesses who said they saw Wilder in an argument with two men over money at the Welcome Inn on Providence Road in Columbia. According to the witnesses, at one point the men forced Wilder into a pickup truck at gunpoint.

Video surveillance led investigators to identify Henry as one of the men at the hotel when Wilder was abducted. They found Henry in Overland on July 9. While searching his truck, they found blood, and found the passenger seat had been removed. The seat, according to their report, was missing the seatbelt and buckle, consistent with the buckle found near Wilder's body.

On July 10, investigators interviews Diedrich, who reportedly admitted to being with Henry and Wilder on July 6, the day Wilder died. She also told them Henry shot Wilder as he sat in the former's truck.

The Audrain County Prosecutor's Office has charged both Henry and Diedrich with murder, armed criminal action, and unlawful possession of a firearm.

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