Troopers arrest Columbia woman connected to death investigation

4 months 3 weeks 3 days ago February 01, 2017 Feb 1, 2017 Wednesday, February 01 2017 Wednesday, February 01, 2017 6:36:00 AM CST in News
By: Edward Redler and Samantha Kummerer, KOMU 8 Digital Producers

COLUMBIA - A woman has been arrested in connection with Monday night’s death investigation in north Columbia.

Deborah Berardi, 55, was arrested on a felony charge of abandonment of a corpse and is being held in Montgomery County Jail on a $20,000 bond.

This comes after police discovered 60-year-old Steven Summa dead inside a home at the intersection of Brown Station Road and Leeway Drive on Monday.

Detectives joined the officers due to the suspicious nature of the scene.

A forensics unit completed a search of the home to determine the cause of death.

Summa was transported to the Boone County Medical Examiner’s Office where initial autopsy results do not show evidence of foul play. On Tuesday, the Missouri State Highway Patrol received notice of a warrant for arrest of Berardi in connection with Summa’s death. The Highway Patrol arrested Berardi during a traffic stop on Interstate 70.

The investigation is ongoing and Berardi is scheduled to make her first appearance in court Wednesday at 1:30 p.m.

This is not Berardi's first run-in with law enforcement.

On August 14, 2016, Kentucky State Police observed Berardi driving a car 90 mph in a 70 mph zone. After an officer attempted to pull her over, Berardi drove off at 125 mph, leading to a chase. Berardi was arrested and faced several charges, including fleeing or evading police, reckless driving and DUI.

Berardi also pled guilty to a third-degree assault charge and served a 15-day prison sentence in early January 2017.

This story has been updated to include the most recent information. 

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