COLUMBIA - Some University of Missouri students are still uneasy after recognizing an employee's mug shot in the news on April 14th. The familiar face was a cook who works at The Pavilion at Dobbs and interacts with many students daily. Police arrested Christopher Hurt after officers obtained a warrant to search his home in connection to Brian Daniels' homicide.
Word quickly spread across campus that one of the dining hall cooks was arrested. Maddie Murphy, a freshman at the University of Missouri, said she heard the news through social media.
"One of my friends actually texted me and told me to go online, it was on a Facebook page that someone had posted, so I looked and read the story and immediately recognized who the guy was," said Murphy.
Murphy said Hurt usually cooked burgers and made sandwiches and she recalled some casual conversations.
"Sometimes he's nice," Murphy said. "He'll just kind of approach you and ask questions. I've seen him be kind of flirtatious with girls sometimes, which I was always a little bit taken aback by, but nothing that was ever alarming."
Dobbs dining hall serves more than six surrounding university dormitories and several other students. Some students who eat at Dobbs regularly were shocked that the familiar cook was arrested.
"It was scary to think that this guy we come in contact with almost every day who's cooking our food and working around all of us was convicted of the crime," said Murphy.
Campus Dining Services refused to comment on the arrest, but assured KOMU that it does background checks on all of its employees. However, a search of Missouri CaseNet shows that Hurt has had four convictions since 2007. The charges all relate to excessive drinking, driving with a revoked license, and related offenses. The employee handbook provided by Campus Dining Services says that employees have five days to notify their supervisors after any criminal convictions. Hurt was charged with felony cocaine possession and felony hindering prosecution last week.
It is unknown if Hurt will return to work, but students say they will be uncomfortable if he does. Morgan Ferrarf, an University of Missouri student and resident of Lathrop Hall, said she doesn't think Hurt should be allowed back.
"Even if he didn't have anything to do with it, even if he wasn't convicted, but being associated with that situation, I think it's inappropriate and makes students feel unsafe," Ferrarf said.
"I don't think that he should be let back," Murphy said.
"Even if he wasn't convicted of the crime, I think that it would cause some controversy and people would definitely not be able to look at him the same."
Hurt is currently awaiting trial at the Boone County Jail.