Police & Courts

Arrests of two possibly connected to Monroe City woman's disappearance

Amanda Johnston
By FORREST GOSSETT
Special to The Herald-Whig
fgossett@courierpost.com
Posted: Aug. 6, 2020 9:00 pm Updated: Aug. 6, 2020 11:15 pm

MONROE CITY, Mo. — Two men were charged Thursday in separate cases that may be related to the disappearance of a Monroe City woman.

The Missouri State Highway Patrol asked late Wednesday night for assistance locating Amanda Johnston, 32, who disappeared after what appears to be a burglary of her home.

Patrol Sgt. Eric Brown said Monroe City Police went to a home about 1:30 p.m. Wednesday on a burglary report.

Brown said that police made an initial investigation and mobilized the Northeast Missouri Major Case Squad.

While investigating the disappearance of Johnston on Wednesday night, Monroe City Police also responded to a 911 hang-up call at a Monroe City home.

Jerry Asbell, 29, of Monroe City, was arrested Thursday on charges of first-degree kidnapping, second-degree assault and armed criminal action.

According to a probable cause statement, Monroe City Police entered the house where the 911 call originated and found a woman with facial abrasions and a bleeding foot.

Police said that Asbell came out of a room with arms raised over his head.

However, police say that once he was escorted out of the home, Asbell began to fight Monroe County sheriff's deputies. Police said he was searched and a needle with a "clear substance" was pulled from his right front pocket, and that he had two Social Security cards and a food stamp card that did not belong to him.

Police labeled him a flight risk in the probable cause statement, saying, "Asbell is a suspect in a missing person case." Monroe County Associate Judge Michael Wilson ordered Asbell held without bond.

Brown said of Asbell, "We are not ready to label him as a suspect or a person of interest. We are actively investigating the incident."

Another man, Linkon Harold Rickard, 26, was arrested in Shelby County on charges of unlawful possession of a weapon, resisting arrest by fleeing and first-degree property damage, as well as two misdemeanors, after reportedly eluding Monroe City Police on Wednesday.

Brown said a vehicle allegedly driven by Rickard was stopped at Abel's Shell station in Monroe City as part of an investigation into a Wednesday morning burglary of a storage shed. He fled police before being stopped in Shelby County and arrested after abandoning his vehicle, police said.

Brown said that Rickard is a suspect in the disappearance of Johnston.

"We are going to investigate him to see if he is involved" with Johnston, he said.

Rickard is being held on $20,000 bond.

Officers from eight agencies, including the Monroe City Police, Monroe County Sheriff's Department and the highway patrol were searching for Johnston late Wednesday night.

"Johnston had not been seen or heard from for an extended period," Brown said. "Some information was developed early that indicates she is in possible danger and foul play cannot be ruled out."

He said Johnston has red hair, hazel eyes, is 5 feet 7 inches tall and weighs 112 pounds.

Brown asked for anyone with information to call the Monroe City Police at 573-735-4431 or Troop B of the highway patrol at 660-385-2132.

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