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Court documents allege 21-year-old Ariel Starcher was murdered

Buchanan County Prosecutor’s office has filed a second-degree murder charge in connection to the death of 21-year-old Ariel Starcher.

Posted: Feb 22, 2021 5:26 PM
Updated: Feb 23, 2021 11:14 AM

(ST. JOSEPH, Mo.) Buchanan County Prosecutor’s office has filed a second-degree murder charge in connection to the death of 21-year-old Ariel Starcher.

According to a criminal complaint, 22-year-old Taylor Stoughton has been charged with second-degree murder, a class A felony punishable by 10-30 years in prison under Missouri law.

The probable cause statement, filed with the complaint, alleges Starcher suffocated to death in early February 2020. According to the documents, Stoughton and an accomplice, Marcus Brooks, obstructed Starcher’s airflow to the point of unconsciousness while at the Sleep Inn in Kansas City. Investigators allege Stoughton confessed that she and Brooks also bound Starcher’s legs and arms before putting her in a duffle bag. Investigators say they do not know at which point Starcher suffocated to death but it may have occurred during the ride from Kansas City to Faucett.

Authorities found Starcher’s body inside a duffle bag in a roadside ditch in Faucett on Feb. 18.

Stoughton is set to appear at 8:15 on Feb. 23 in the Buchanan County Courthouse for an initial appearance. No attorney has been listed and a bond has been denied.

Buchanan County Prosecutor, Ron Holiday, said Monday his office is currently reviewing the case against Brooks. No charges have been filed against him at this time. According to the county jail booking logs, Brooks is currently in custody.

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