Court records: Wykert told inmates he killed Leah Dawson

Kenneth Wykert, 49, is charged with second-degree murder and abandonment of a corpse, according to DeKalb County court records.

Posted: Aug 2, 2019 3:37 PM
Updated: Aug 2, 2019 4:27 PM

(DEKALB COUNTY, Mo.) The boyfriend of 23-year-old Leah Dawson, whose body was found at a Maysville home in June, has been charged with murder Friday.

Kenneth Wykert, 49, is charged with second-degree murder and abandonment of a corpse, according to DeKalb County court records.

RELATED STORIES: Boyfriend of Leah Dawson charged with murder.

DeKalb County authorities discovered Dawson’s body June 27, about 100 yards from Wykert’s home in Maysville under a tree, according to a probable cause statement.

A forensic investigation by the Jackson County Medical Examiner identified Dawson’s remains.


According to court documents, Dawson’s body was found face down, with her left leg up near her head. Her shirt was pulled up near her neck but was otherwise naked. Shorts and underwear were lying about five feet from her body.

The Jackson County Medical Examiner said the position of her body was unnatural.

Dawson was reported missing on June 12, 2019. Wykert was arrested on drug charges that day. 

According to a probable cause statement filed Friday, while in jail for drug charges, inmates say Wykert admitted to killing Dawson.

The filings also say Wykert told investigators he had last seen Dawson about June 5 at his house in Maysville. Before she left, Dawson told Wykert she was leaving him during an argument. Wykert said she had left before he got home and he had not had contact with her since.

While executing a search warrant at Wykert’s home on State Highway A, authorities found Dawson’s clothes and pet cat in his bedroom. The Dekalb County Sheriff’s department found her body on June 26.

RELATED STORIES: Friends, family celebrate life of Leah Dawson

Two weeks later, authorities said another person told investigators that Wykert admitted to killing Dawson. According to the probable cause statement, this happened during a telephone conversation on July 11.

Less than a week later, July 16, investigators said another person told investigators that Dawson and Wykert had visited his residence around June 3. That day the couple got into a verbal fight and she yelled at Wykert, according to court records. He then grabbed Dawson by the throat and covered her mouth. The person said after Dawson and Wykert left, Wykert said he was going to kill her.

Wykert is set to appear in DeKalb County Court on Aug. 7 for Failure to Register as a Sex-Offender. No court date has been set for the murder of Dawson.

RELATED STORIES: Boyfriend of Leah Dawson pleaded guilty of assaulting her in 2017 case.

Wykert had previously pleaded guilty to 4th-degree domestic assault, resisting arrest and unlawful possession of drug paraphernalia stemming from a 2017 case involving Dawson.

According to court documents, Wykert pulled Dawson out of a Maysville house on November 2, 2017, and hit her in the back of the head. A probable cause statement shows Dawson told police Wykert came downstairs with a bowl in his hand and asked her to wash it. Dawson stated Wykert was mad at her for leaving it upstairs and began to yell and hit her. Wykert pulled her outside of the house and hit her again in the back of the head.

Wykert was later arrested at his brother's house. He was fined $2,000 for the domestic assault charge and sentenced to eight months for resisting an arrest which he was given credit for time served.

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