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UPDATE AT BOTTOM:

The co-owner of an Ozarks car dealership was found dead inside the business early this morning.


An employee who reported to work at Ozark Dodge about 6:30 a.m. discovered the body of 56 year-old Rufus Church, who had been shot.

Church, who was a well respected member of the community also owned Heritage Chrysler-Jeep.

Ozark police chief Lyle Hodges says that his office is, "investigating Church's death as a homicide, but hasn't rule out suicide."

The Ozark Police Department is being assisted with their investigation by investigators with The Missouri Highway Patrol, and the Christian County Sheriff's Office.

The dealership, which sits on the north side of CC, just west of Highway 65 in Ozark is in the process of trying to liquidate all their inventory, but has not declared bankruptcy.


UPDATE (03-24-09):


A search warrant was served at an Ozark car dealership today where a co-owner of the business was found shot to death.

A co-worker of 56-year-old Rufus Church found him inside the body shop/garage bay area at Ozark Dodge about 6:30 a.m. yesterday (03-23-09) with a gunshot wound to the chest.


The business was closed yesterday and again today as investigators collected evidence for clues in the case.

Investigators combed the entire building, outbuildings and vehicles according to court records.

The search warrant says that detectives found broken glass inside the dealership. It also says that detectives collected blood, hair, guns, shell casings, cell phones, computers and other documents for leads in the case.

Ozark police chief Lyle Hodges says that they, "are treating Church's death as a homicide, but haven't ruled out suicide."

The Christian County Sheriff’s Department and Missouri State Highway Patrol are assisting the Ozark Police Department with the investigation.


UPDATE (03-25-09):


Detectives are still piecing together clues in the shooting death of Ozark Dodge co-owner Rufus Church.

Church was discovered in the garage/bay area of the business by worker at the dealership about 6:30 a.m. on Monday (03-23-09) with a shotgun wound to the chest.

A search warrant served at the dealership yesterday (03-24-09) says that detectives found broken glass inside the business.

Detectives also searched vehicles on the lot for clues in addition to collecting blood, hair, guns, shell casings, cell phones, computers and other documents for leads in the case.

An insider says that, "it is very unlikely that the shotgun blast killed Church was self-inflicted."

The dealership, which sits on the north side of CC, just west of Highway 65 in Ozark is in the process of trying to liquidate all their inventory, but has not declared bankruptcy.

UPDATE (04-16-09):

The Ozark Police Department says that they are awaiting lab results from The Missouri Crime Lab in the death of Ozark Dodge co-owner Rufus Church.

Church was found dead in a service bay by a coworker about 6:30 a.m.with a gunshot wound to the chest on March 23rd.

Ozark police chief Lyle Hodges says," the case is ongoing and they have not ruled out if it was a suicide or homicide," adding "that the public shouldn't be worried that there is a killer on the loose."

Hodges says that a meeting with investigators with The Missouri Highway Patrol is in the works so that the agencies can compare notes in Church's death.

UPDATE (04-23-09):


It was one month ago that an employee reporting to work early in the morning at Ozark Dodge discovered the body of Rufus Church.

Church, was found with a gunshot wound to the chest in the service bay/garage area of the business he co-owned.....according to the search warrant, the weapon was found within the business.

Ozark Police chief Lyle Hodges says that his office is still waiting on test results to come back from the Missouri Highway Patrol Crime Lab. He says that wait could be as long as another month or six weeks.

The search warrant also indicates that investigators recovered broken glass inside the dealership. Detectives also collected blood, hair, guns, shell casings, cell phones, computers and other documents looking for leads in the case.

An insider close to the case says that, "it is very unlikely that the shotgun blast that killed Church was self-inflicted." That same insider notes that suspicious death investigations can turn on a dime.

Hodges says that his office continues to investigate Church's death as a homicide, but hasn't rule anything out.

Chief Hodges admits that it has taken a long time for him to issue any statements, but, he says that he wants to examine all the evidence and meet with Highway Patrol investigators before making a final ruling. He says, "it's not that I don't want too, it's that I just want to be sure what we have before I do."

4 comments:

Anonymous said...

Your "inside" sources are full of shit. No gun was found near his body...homicide.

byrd1958 said...

Dude read the article again.....you have read it wrong....The insider says that is is "highly UNLIKELY that it was self inflicted" That means, they do not believe it was suicide...they believe it was homicide.

Anonymous said...

I will not leave my name but I think that it is funny how so many people who really know nothing is coming up with stories that are just so bizarre. First off there is no liquidation going on at this moment, but I do believe that they will be selling the business or eventually filing bankruptcy. Also there was for a fact a shotgun found on the premises which belonged to Rufus Church though they have not stated where the gun was found, it is very unlikely that he committed suicide though. There was a glass door that was shattered but not a door that was an entrance into the building, it was one of the office doors. No forced entry was found by any of the outside doors. Hmm makes you think did he know his murderer? Very questionable! There also was outside servillence where something was seen on tape but no one is able to let any of that information out. There was also some offices that were ram-sacked. It was not unusual for Mr. Church to be at the dealership during the evening hours when the dealership was closed.

Anonymous said...

Has there been any progress reported in the investigation of Mr. Church's death?

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