9:45 AM

The suspicious death investigation that began yesterday in Benton County, Missouri has now officially turned into a triple homicide investigation.

Several different agencies are assisting Benton County authorities and investigators with the Missouri Highway Patrol as they try to piece together what happened inside the Luetjen house on Elm Street in Cole Camp. Cole Camp has a little over 1,000 residents.

When police arrived at the crime scene on Elm Street they say "suspicious circumstances" prompted them ask the court for a search warrant for the property. That warrant was granted about 5:00 yesterday evening.

When cops entered the residence about 5:15 they discovered 15 year-old Taron Luetjen (b.), and her grandparents/parents Sharon Luetjen, 61, and Donnie Luetjen, 64, bound and lined up next to each other.....shot.
Taron had lived with her grandparents since she was a little girl, and they adopted her in 2002. Her father Terry was killed in a car crash in 1993.
Taron (b.) was an honors student who was active in theater in Cole Camp.

Investigators believe the Luetjens may have been killed on Sunday or Monday.
A family friend says that police were called when a friend of Taron' became concerned when she did not show up for her drivers ed class Monday or Tuesday.

Authorities say that a family friend that Taron was supposed to help on Tuesday called police about 11:30 a.m. yesterday (06-09-09) when she became concerned when she went to the Luetjen home and noticed "something suspicious."

Tarons biological mother, Debra Kost, 36, lives in Buffalo, Missouri, and says that she was at work at Carl's Package Store at the time the murders took place. "I was there on Sunday, Monday and yesterday," adding, "all they have to do is look at the camera's."

Kost says that know one has notified her or any of her family members about her daughters death even after repeated phone calls to law enforcers. She says she lost custody of her daughter when because she could not afford to fight them in court.

Kost, who has seven other children that that live with her that range in age from 17 to 2 says, "they (grandparent's) wouldn't let me see or talk to Taron, the last time I saw her was at Dollar General in Stover two years ago. She looked at me and smiled....I hope she knew I loved her."
Debra Kost says, "a lot of people are pointing their finger at me, and I don't know why....I just want the police to concentrate on who did this and why!"

Kost says that Donnie Luetjen has an auto body shop attached to the residence and collected Native American artifacts. "He had a picture that was made out of arrowheads in the shape of an Indian Chief's head that hung on a wall that you saw when you walked through the door; and a peace pipe that was enclosed in a glass case in the house that were very valuable," according to Kost.

The talk around town is that the grandparents had recently come into a large sum of money. Kost says she's been told that the large amount of money that the Luetjens recently acquired, "was from the sale of Indian artifacts, or the death of a relative."

Donnie Luetjen had donated several Native American artifacts to the Cole Camp museum and was well known throughout the country as a high end dealer in the artifacts and Civil War memorabilia.

The Rural Missouri Major Case Squad has been activated to assist in the homicide investigation.

If you have any information that can help investigators you're asked to call the Cole Camp Police Department at 660-668-2321, the Benton County Sheriff’s Department at 660-438-5252, or the Missouri State Highway Patrol, Troop A Headquarters at 816-622-0800.
Tarons friends have started a facebook page dedicated to her memory.

News Release:

Officers from the Cole Camp Police Department and Benton County Sheriff’s Department, and investigators from the Missouri State Highway Patrol’s Division of Drug and Crime Control have ruled the death investigation at a residence on South Elm Street in Cole Camp as a triple homicide.

On June 9, 2009, at approximately 11:30 a.m., the Cole Camp Police Department received a call from a citizen who was concerned for the welfare of the residents. At approximately 5:15 p.m., officers from the Cole Camp Police Department and Benton County Sheriff’s Department entered the residence with a search warrant and discovered three people dead.

At this time no statement will be released as to the cause of death or how long the victims had been deceased.

The victims have been identified as Donnie R. Luetjen, 64, Sharon K. Luetjen, 61, and Taron D. Luetjen, 15, all from Cole Camp, Missouri.

The Rural Missouri Major Case Squad is in the process of being activated to assist with this homicide investigation.

Anyone with information is asked to call the Cole Camp Police Department at 660-668-2321, the Benton County Sheriff’s Department at 660-438-5252, or the Missouri State Highway Patrol, Troop A Headquarters at 816-622-0800.

***House images KSPR, KOLR, KY3, FOXKC


Anonymous said...

I'm from Cole Camp. I went to Donnie's house about two years ago to a garage sale. His garage looked like a Bass Pro Shop or a Cabelas sporting goods store. The garage was crammed full with new hunting equipment still in their boxes. I believe he got them legit. But he had all this stuff. I find it odd that no one has mentioned his guns. I assume he had some he had everything else, bows, arrows, tree stands, etc. BTW, I have heard that some people heard shots on Saturday. Cole Camp was full of people on Sat. they had a car show & a barbeque contest. Now the car show is usually held right across the street from the Luetjen home in the park. So w/ so many people in town it would be hard to remember anyone strange hanging around. Coincidence, strange. The Luetjens didn't have any neighbors across the street to the front of the house, it faces the park, or to the north, that's an empty lot. But they had neighbors to the back of the house, to the south & west. Donnie had the reputation of being difficult to get along with in business dealings. But this is just hearsay. With everyone at the park, I would think it had to have happened Sat. night or Sunday.

Anonymous said...

Don't know if you want to post this or not. But there is another rumor going around. Again this is just a rumor! Supposedly Sharon Luetjen had a nephew living w/ them. Something happened & she had him arrested. He got out of jail shortly before all this happened. Again don't even know if this is true. I'm not saying he did it. But what did he tell while in jail & to who. If indeed this even occurred.

Kathee Baird said...

To the person who sent me the information that I haven't posted. I am checking it out. Thanks!