crimesider

Cops: Child-Raping Missouri Family May Have Bodies in Yard

(AP Photo)
(AP Photo)
(AP Photo)
(AP Photo)
(AP Photo)
Photo: Jared Leroy Mohler, 48, of Columbia, Mo.

LEXINGTON, Mo. (CBS/AP) Police investigating a western Missouri family accused of sexually abusing children are now searching a family property for dead bodies. They are also looking for buried glass jars, which the alleged victims say contain notes documenting their sexual abuse years ago.

Lafayette County Sheriff Kerrick Alumbaugh said there has been an indication of "body or bodies in numerous locations," although he would not say whose bodies they might be.

Photo: David A. Mohler, 52, of Lamoni, Iowa.

Excavation was to resume Thursday about 30 miles east of Kansas City on a property was once owned by two of five family members arrested in the case this week.

Five members of the Mohler family are charged with several felonies, including forcible sodomy, rape with a child younger than 12 and use of a child in a sexual performance. The alleged crimes, which include bestiality, forcing children into fake marriages with relatives and making an 11-year-old have an abortion, date from 1988 to 1995.

Photo: Burrell Edward Mohler Sr., 77, of Independence, Mo.

Cpl. Bill Lowe of the Missouri State Highway Patrol said a 26-year-old woman came forward to investigators in mid-August with the allegations.

A probable cause statement released by the Lafayette County prosecutor's office says five other siblings of the woman have accused all five men of abuse, but it's unclear whether all the siblings were claiming to be victims.

Photo: Burrell Edward Mohler Jr., 53, also of Independence, Mo.

Lowe said the woman told investigators that she and her siblings had buried glass jars around the property that were filled with messages "about what was happening to them" when they were younger. The woman said she had "suppressed many of the memories of abuse perpetrated on her" and her siblings, according to the probable cause statement.

Sgt. Collin Stosberg of the Highway Patrol said the adults had told the children to write down their bad memories.

Photo: Roland Neil Mohler, 47, of Bates City, Mo.

"That was what they were told. Write these memories down, put them in a jar and bury it and the memories would go away," Stosberg said. "It was a way for them to cope."

The woman who came forward also claimed some of the men forced her to have sex with a dog and to watch as her brother was abused.

"She became pregnant and was made to have an abortion at age 11 1/2. She doesn't remember any sexual abuse after that date," the probable cause statement said.

Sheriff Alumbaugh pleaded for the public's help, saying investigators "believe that there are other victims out there" and that the public can provide more information.

Three of the five men arrested are lay ministers in the Community of Christ church whose licenses have been suspended, church spokeswoman Linda L. Booth said.

The suspects were identified as Burrell Edward Mohler Sr., 77, of Independence, and his sons, Burrell Edward Mohler Jr., 53, also of Independence; Jared Leroy Mohler, 48, of Columbia; Roland Neil Mohler, 47, of Bates City; and David A. Mohler, 52, of Lamoni, Iowa.

All five were being held in the Lafayette County jail on cash bonds ranging from $30,000 to $75,000.
  • Edecio Martinez

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