A court document that lays out charges against five people arrested in connection with the disappearance of a Wichita man suggest the man was tortured before he was killed.
The Sedgwick County Sheriff’s Office on Thursday said it thinks the missing man – 33-year-old Scottie W. Goodpaster Jr. – is dead, although his body hasn’t yet been found.
The agency is asking for the public’s help to locate Goodpaster, particularly hunters who may be walking fields in Harvey County over the weekend as pheasant season opens.
In an e-mail Thursday, Lt. Lin Dehning urged anyone outdoors “to be on the lookout for anything suspicious” and to call 911 if anything is found but to not disturb a potential crime scene.
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Five people on Thursday were criminally charged in connection with Goodpaster’s disappearance: Brian Bussart, 39; Heidi Hillard, 42; Jeff Hillard, 49; Willie Morris, 55; and Alexandria Scott, 26.
All but Scott are facing a count of first-degree premeditated murder, two counts of aggravated kidnapping, one count of aggravated robbery and three counts of aggravated battery. Scott was charged with kidnapping and aggravated robbery.
The Hillards also are each facing a charge of rape.
Some of the crimes, including the rapes, involve a second victim who is identified on the charging document only by initials. The sheriff’s office would not give the age or gender of the second victim, citing the sexual nature of the crimes.
According to the joint criminal complaint filed against Bussart, the Hillards and Morris, Goodpaster was kidnapped, cut on his face or ear, suffered injuries to his genitalia and was attacked with a staple gun then intentionally killed on Sunday.
The injuries inflicted with the staple gun were to his eyes and mouth, the document says.
The second victim was kidnapped, robbed of a cellphone and raped on Sunday, according to the document.
All five suspects stayed relatively silent during their first appearances in Sedgwick County District Court on Thursday, saying nothing other than “yes” or “no” to Judge Tyler Roush’s inquiries about whether they understood or had questions about the allegations.
Their relationships to Goodpaster and what motivated the presumed killing are unknown.
Bussart, the Hillards and Morris were being held in Sedgwick County Jail on Thursday in lieu of $1 million bond. Scott’s bond is $100,000.
Bussart, of Wichita, and the Hillards, of Valley Center, were arrested on Sunday. Scott, of Wichita, was booked on Monday. Morris, of Wichita, was arrested and jailed Wednesday night, according to jail booking records.
They all are due back in court for their next hearings on Nov. 23.
Attorneys appointed to represent Bussart, the Hillards and Scott either could not immediately be reached by phone Thursday for comment or refused to speak about the case.
Responding to questions about bringing murder charges before Goodpaster’s body has been found, Sedgwick County District Attorney Marc Bennett said: “Charging a case without a body requires an assessment of the facts uncovered by the investigation. After a lengthy discussion with law enforcement … a determination was made that we could prove the case beyond a reasonable doubt based upon those facts.”
Authorities have remained silent about what happened Sunday in Valley Center before Goodpaster’s disappearance. Sedgwick County Sheriff Jeff Easter, during a news conference earlier this week, revealed that Goodpaster was missing following unspecified crimes that were committed at a home in the 1300 block of South Meridian.
Authorities came to the address after a disturbance was reported there Sunday morning. Valley Center Police Chief Mark Hephner has said it appeared that someone was assaulted at the house, “but we don’t have the victim.”
The sheriff’s office also is asking anyone who saw a white extended-cab pickup driving anywhere in Harvey County on Sunday to call 911, the sheriff’s investigation section at 316-660-5300, the records section at 316-660-3888 or Wichita-Sedgwick County Crime Stoppers at 316-267-2111.
The pickup belongs to one of the five people charged Thursday, Dehning said.