Autopsies point to apparent murder-suicide in Gasconade County

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BELLE - Preliminary autopsy results indicate the deaths of a man and child in Gasconade County may have been a murder-suicide.

Four-year-old Bentlee Turner and 37-year-old Monty Jason Barton were found dead on Valentine Ford Road near Route A on September 16th. Turner had been reported missing earlier that day and was last seen with Barton the day before.

Autopsies revealed both died from a single gunshot wound to the head; Barton's wound was apparently self-inflicted.

Barton was a family friend of Turner's. Belle residents like Amanda Koellig and Andrea McDonald were used to seeing the two of them together.

"I saw him [Turner] walking with Jason every day to and from school because I also walk my daughter to and from school," Koellig said. "They always seemed very happy together. I really didn't expect it to be a murder-suicide."

"Jason and Bentlee came into the library a lot," McDonald said. "They would come in nearly every afternoon."

Koellig said she's nervous to let her daughter "out of her sight" after hearing about this case.

"You would think a family friend — someone that's really close to them — you could trust to go and take them wherever," she said. "But apparently that's not the case anymore."

The Belle community has come together to support Turner's family. A donation jar was set up in Double L Country Store where Turner's mother works. An employee at the store said people have come from out of town to drop off money.

There is also a Go Fund Me page to help with funeral costs.

The Missouri State Highway Patrol said the investigation on the circumstances of the case will continue.

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