Woman, 20, charged with stabbing University of Missouri student and burning body in fire pit

Unidentified victim was a University of Missouri student with high-functioning autism

Graeme Massie
Los Angeles
Friday 13 January 2023 19:52 GMT
Emma Adams, 20, charged with murdering student whose smouldering remains found in backyward firepit
Emma Adams, 20, charged with murdering student whose smouldering remains found in backyward firepit (BCJ)

A Missouri woman was charged with murder after she told police she had stabbed a university student to death and smouldering human remains were found in a fire pit.

Emma Adams, 20, was arrested after police carried out a welfare check for the University of Missouri student, who had high-functioning autism.

Authorities say that when officers arrived at the suspect’s home in Columbia, where the student had taken an Uber, they smelled burning flesh.

Investigators found the remains in a backyard fire pit, along with a bloody knife. Police also say they discovered a phone matching a description of the victim’s was in a water-filled sink. Officers say that blood was also found in a car, inside the home and in the backyard.

The victim’s body was burned beyond recognition and police have not publicly identified him, but officials say they “have a good idea” of the identity.

The suspect, who is not a student at the university, has been charged with second-degree murder, armed criminal action, tampering with physical evidence and abandonment of a corpse.

Ms Adams denied knowing the missing student when asked by police, according to a probable cause statement. When the officers asked to search the backyard she consented and the remains were visible to the officers in the fire pit.

“The human body was smouldering, and an odour of what (was) described to be burning flesh was present,” according to the probable cause statement.

When the suspect was asked who was in the fire pit she told officers “something to the effect of, ‘he was beating me,’” the statement added. It also stated that she told officers that she had stabbed the victim in self-defence.

The suspect is being held in Boone County Jail on a $1m cash bond.

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