Rufus Church (family photo, above)

It's been six months since Rufus Church was found shot to death at a car dealership he co-owned, and the case is far from cold according to Christian County prosecutor Ron Cleek.

Cleek says that authorities continue to follow leads and asks that the public be patient with investigators. "I know this case is very frustrating for the public, but we need to let trained investigators do their jobs. People think that in the era of CSI that suspicious death investigations can be wrapped up quickly.....that's not always the case," according to the prosecutor.


Christian County prosecutor Ron Cleek (above)

On March 23rd, a co-worker of Mr. Church arriving for work about 6:30 that morning found him dead from a shotgun blast to the chest in a service garage adjacent to the former Ozark Dodge.



Former Ozark Dodge Dealership courtesy of Christian County Headliner


The day that Church was found dead, detectives served a search warrant at the dealership where they collected blood, hair, guns, shell casings, cell phones, computers and other documents looking for leads in the case.

Authorities have been pretty tight lipped about the investigation into the 56 year-old mans death. At the time of Churchs death, Ozark police chief Lyle Hodges said that the Ozark police department and investigators with the Highway Patrol were investigating Churchs death as a homicide, "the public shouldn't be worried that there is a killer on the loose."

In May, Christian County coroner Arthur Adams amended the original death certificate he signed back in March, "I amended the original death certificate that I signed regarding Rufus Church from homicide to pending investigation after information was brought to me by the Highway Patrol and the Ozark Police Department,"Adams said. He refused to discuss toxicology or other lab results related to the case saying, "I will only release those to the family or the family's lawyers."

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 says that investigators have a tough time with suspicious death investigations, "because things can turn on a dime."



Six months after Churchs death, Missouri State Highway Patrol Sgt. Dan Bracker is handling all comments related to the man's death. He says that the patrol has four to five investigators on the case, "we have recently followed up on some leads out of state."

Bracker says that he believes the public want investigators with the patrol to come to the right conclusion, "we owe that to the family and to the citizens of Missouri," he says. We live in a fast food society where everyone wants it now or yesterday. We are under no pressure to solve this hurriedly.....just correctly!"

Bracker backs up Hodges original statement that the public at large is not in any danger. He says that once the case is resolved the public will understand why it took so long to put the puzzle together.

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