UPDATE: Community reacts to murder arrest, investigation

3 weeks 2 days 5 hours ago Tuesday, September 25 2018 Sep 25, 2018 Tuesday, September 25, 2018 3:09:00 PM CDT September 25, 2018 in News
By: Monica Harkins and Sarai Vega, KOMU 8 Reporters and Alayna Chapie, KOMU 8 Digital Producer
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MILLER COUNTY - A tri-state drug deal operation led to a murder in Miller County in June, according to the Missouri State Highway Patrol.

Court documents said the suspect, Joseph McKenna, was working with the victim, Tyler Worthington, to distribute marijuana oil disguised in vapor pen cartridges.

Worthington, from the state of California, was found shot in the head. His remains had been dragged into a wooded area.

McKenna, from Chicago, was arrested yesterday in connection to the murder.

KOMU talked to the man who found the body he said "I don't want to talk about it. I never want to think about it again." 

The superintendent for the Miller County school district said this was a shock for a small town. 

"My initial reaction to it was 'How's this going to affect our students? Hows this going to affect our teachers," said Jason Price. "Any time you get some negative press in a sense in a small town you're always wondering about the families involved."

Price said keeping the students safe is the number one priority. 

A probable cause statement said Worthington and McKenna were partners in the plan to bring the marijuana oil into Missouri.

Worthington flew from Sacramento, California, to Chicago on June 2, to meet McKenna, the statement said. Toll records show Worthington and McKenna left from Chicago together two days later in separate cars, the document said.

The two delivered their product to two locations in Missouri, the statement said. There are records of McKenna's truck passing through northbound tolls to Chicago without Worthington.  

Investigators said they got a break in the case during a phone call to one of Worthington's "close associates." While the conversation was happening, McKenna called the associate on another line. The associate put McKenna on speaker, investigators said, and McKenna revealed information about drug transactions.

Police said McKenna told the associate the money from the transactions was to be dropped off and loaded onto a tractor trailer in Chenoa, Illinois.

McKenna then said he was supposed to fly to Sacramento, California, with Worthington on June 5, but flew without him on that same day, according to investigators.

The rental car Worthington used to drive to Missouri, is still missing.

McKenna was being held on $750,000 bond in the Cook County Jail in Chicago. He is expected to be extradited to Missouri.

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