Crime & Courts

Missouri women charged in cold case

Two Joplin, Mo., women were charged Thursday in Sedgwick County District Court with first-degree murder in a case that remained unsolved for more than a decade.

Sharon K. Huddleston, 54, and Rhonda L. Pischel, 53, were charged in the death of Todd M. Stover, whose body was found on a rural Greenwood County road on May 27, 2000.

Stover, 37, lived in the Wichita area at the time and was last seen alive on May 25, 2000, leaving a bar in the 2000 block of South Broadway, according to a Kansas Bureau of Investigation website featuring unsolved homicides.

District Attorney Nola Foulston said in a news release that Stover's body, which showed no signs of trauma, was found without identification about a half-mile south of U.S. 400 near the town of Severy. He was identified through fingerprints, the news release said, but an autopsy was unable to determine a cause of death.

The release said Park City police developed information in March that indicated that Stover may have been murdered at a home in Park City.

During a brief court hearing, District Judge Ben Burgess set bond for both defendants at $500,000 and scheduled an Aug. 18 preliminary hearing.

Foulston said after the hearing that the victim and suspects are former Park City residents. She declined to discuss a motive for the killing.

Huddleston and Pischel, who lived together in Joplin, were arrested last week by Joplin police and waived extradition to Kansas.

Both will be represented by court-appointed lawyers.

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