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Thursday, December 24, 2020

Update: Parents of 4-year-old girl murdered in Benton County arrested and charged

This evening, Thursday, December 24th, at approximately 7:18 PM deputies from the Morgan County Sheriff’s Office arrested Mary S. Mast, 29 and James A. Mast, 28 at a residence in Stover MO, on warrants issued out of Benton County. James and Mary were the parents of the four-year-old female victim from the homicide reported in the early morning hours of December 20th. 

Mary is being charged with Endangering the Welfare of a Child in the First Degree Resulting in Death (Felony A) and Domestic Assault in the First Degree (Felony A). James is being charged with Endangering the Welfare of a child in the First Degree Resulting in Death (Felony A) and Endangering the Welfare of a Child in the First Degree Resulting in Serious Physical Injury (Felony B) Both individuals are being held without bond, the Mast’s two-year-old son and infant son have been placed in protective custody. The probable cause statements will be available next week at the Benton County Circuit Clerks office or can be requested by email at 

I have received many letters, calls and emails of concern regarding this child’s death and the surrounding circumstances to be the actions of a cult. During interviews with investigators and the media, there have been some references to God and demons. Additional interviews have been held with family members, both local and out of state, as well as others who know the parties involved. None of the actions contained in this case are condoned by the church they attended. The investigation done so far indicates that this is an isolated incident and NOT the actions of a cult. 

When a crime of this magnitude occurs, it affects everyone in its aftermath from first responders to next of kin, community, church and beyond. This will continue to be an ongoing investigation as we wait for the medical examiner’s report and any further information we may be able to develop in time. Further charges may be sought by Benton County Assistant Prosecuting Attorney Rod Richardson as all the evidence is considered.

Courtesy of Benton County Sheriff Eric Knox

Santa is on the way!

So... you’ve been good all year and are ready for it pay off 😊

Use the following link to find out when Santa is close to your house!

Obituary - Joyce Ann (Klotz) Gundy

Joyce Ann (Klotz) Gundy, 78, of Nevada, MO, passed away on Tuesday, December 22, 2020 at St. Luke’s Hospice House, Kansas City, MO. Joyce was born on June 18, 1942 in Walker, KS to Herman Klotz, Sr. and Betty M. (May) Klotz. She married the love of her life, Ronald L. Gundy, on October 19, 1962 at St. Paul Lutheran Church in Nevada and he preceded her in death on June 30, 1969.

Joyce grew up on a farm in Walker, KS with her parents and siblings. At the age of eight the family moved to a farmstead east of Nevada where her father continued to farm and her mother worked as a waitress and nurse assistant. Until her sixth grade year when she was bussed to Jefferson Elementary School in Nevada, she walked to a little country schoolhouse down the road from her home. Joyce graduated from Nevada High School Class of 1960.

Following graduation, she worked at SH Kress Dime Store in Nevada as a cashier before accepting a seamstress position with the Nelly Don Factory. She dated and soon married Ron who died as the result of being struck by lightening while fishing with his father L. B. Gundy in Walker, MO. Joyce and Ron had two daughters, Ronda Jo and Crystal Renae. While Ron completed his Mechanical Engineering Degree at the Rolla School of Mines, Joyce stayed at home to care for their daughters. After Ron’s graduation he accepted an engineering position with Hallmark and the family moved to Lawence, KS. After Ron’s death, Joyce and her daughters moved back to Nevada where the girls began elementary school and Joyce enrolled in Cosmetology School, graduated, and became licensed. She began working at various salons which she continued until her retirement.

Joyce was very involved with her daughters’ activities. She did everything from Brownie (Girl Scout) Leader, to Room Mother, to attending every game her daughters cheered at or any function they participated in. She was always there in the audience to support her daughters. Too many to name them all, but she was always there. Joyce enjoyed going to church, spending time with family and friends, watching birds, working in her yard and flower beds, traveling, dancing, sewing and crafting.

Survivors include her two daughters, Ronda Johnson (Russell), Deerfield, MO and Crystal Garver (Kevin), Raymore, MO; six grandchildren, Reanna Villagomez (Greg), Nevada, Ron Johnson (Mandy) Kansas City, MO, Rusty Johnson (Hailee), Deerfield, Cory Garver (Bree), Kansas City, Chad Garver (Bailey), Springfield, MO, and Matthew Garver, Springfield, four great grandchildren, four sisters, Fern Dolezal (Don), Great Bend, KS, Shirley Vincent, Nevada, Anna Lee Bloesser, Nevada, Marjorie Johnson (Walt)), Nevada, three brothers, Marvin Klotz(Linda), Nevada, Morris Klotz(Betty), Nevada, and Albert Klotz, (Mary), Bella Vista, AR, and numerous nieces and nephews.

In addition to her husband, Ron, she was preceded in death by her parents, a grandson Cameron Garver in 1997, and brother Herman Klotz, Jr.

No services are planned at this time. A memorial service will be held at a later date.

Police chase in Bates County ends in Cass County

On 12/24/20 at approximately midnight a Deputy conducted a traffic stop in the City of Adrian. During that traffic stop a second vehicle pulled up and the driver of that vehicle began a conversation with the stopped vehicle. 

When the Deputy exited his patrol vehicle to make contact the driver of the second vehicle sped off spinning his tires. The Deputy then requested that the Adrian PD Officer find him and detain him until the Deputy could have a conversation with him about his inability to drive within the laws of Missouri. 

The Deputy finished with his first vehicle stop and then was notified that the Adrian Officer located the second vehicle in question. As the Adrian Officer attempted to stop the vehicle it began to flee from the Officer. The pursuit then traveled north outside the City limits where the Deputy attempted to deploy the Grappler. 

The driver intentionally tried to wreck the Deputy causing extensive damage to the front of the patrol vehicle. The Deputy was able to remain in the pursuit. The pursuit continued north into Cass County where a second Deputy with the Cass County Sheriff's Office attempted to deploy the Grapple system. A third deputy was able to deploy spike strips in rural Harrisonville causing three tires to deflate. The pursuit continued to Harrisonville where it traveled onto 7 Highway until the vehicle became disabled. The Driver was then taken into custody. 

The Driver was identified as Ryan Matthew Templeton, W/M, 11/3/1985. Mr. Templeton had active warrants for his arrest for the following:
Leaving the Scene of an Accident
Careless and Imprudent Driving
Improper Regulations
No Insurance
Driving While Suspended
Obstructing Police by Fleeing to Elude
Resist Arrest
Receiving Stolen Property

Mr. Templeton is currently on Parole with the Missouri Department of Corrections for.........Receiving Stolen Property and Fleeing/Resisting Arrest. We will be sending a request for DOC to retain custody of Mr. Templeton since he has not complied and continues to fail to abide by the terms of his early release.

"We continued to work with other agencies like Adrian Police Department, Cass County Sheriff's Office and the Missouri Highway Patrol to bring career criminals to Justice." Say Sheriff Anderson. "Mr. Einstein here had no regards for anyone in our communities and placed everyone at extreme danger of serious injury or death. I am Thankful for the peaceful ending but his 45 minute pursuit could have had serious consequences to an innocent family or one of our deputies on this Christmas Eve. I find it even more disturbing to see that he was receiving text messages encouraging him to continue to run and that he "has already taken out two patrol cars" like these people are living in a video game. These messages appear to be coming from people within our own community who were listening to the scanner. Our message to them is that we literally have your number and will continue to investigate Mr. Einstein's criminal actions and connections to our community to further bring anyone connected to his actions to Justice."

Mr. Templeton is being held on his previous warrants and is also being sought by KCPD in reference to Burglaries in their jurisdiction. Mr. Templeton was charged with Possession of Drug Paraphernalia and Fleeing to Elude with a bond of $25,000 Cash only. Additional charges will be sought to include felony property damage for the damage to the patrol car and receiving stolen property as the car that he was driving has now been reported stolen out of Harrisonville.

Holiday helpers busy in Amsterdam

Some good hearted Elves have been busy in Amsterdam this week

For the second year, a handful of local folks have been hard at work gathering food donations for those less fortunate during the holiday season. In the last few days, some 70 boxes of food (around $1400 worth) were given to families in the Amsterdam, Amoret and Merwin areas thanks to this effort.

A member of the group, Vicky Vail was awarded Amsterdam Citizen of the Year for her ongoing commitment to her community during a brief ceremony yesterday. - our thanks to Wesley Hubbard

Holiday lighting contest winners

Winners of the Butler Parks & Rec 2020 holiday lighting contest
First place- Mike and Carmen Berlinger at 508 East Nursery St.

Second place- John and Shelby Taylor at 1005 Ruby St.

Third place- 816 S. High St

Many thanks to all who participated. Have a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!

Thank you for the donation

Due to the circumstances this year. We decided not to have our Christmas party. Instead we used that money to give back to the community and let our employees choose who they would like to donate too. 

The Adrian School FFA an PJ Haskins with The Optimist Club both received a $300 donation from Yoss Thriftway!!

Happy Holidays!!!

Obituary - Ernest Weers

Ernest Weers, 77 of Drexel, Missouri passed away Monday, December 21, 2020 at Lee's Summit Medical Center in Lee's Summit, Missouri. 

A visitation will be held Monday, December 28, 2020 from 5:00 pm to 7:00 pm at Mullinax Funeral Home, Drexel Chapel (660-679-0009). Funeral services will be held 10:00 am Tuesday, December 29, 2020 also at the chapel in Drexel. 

Burial will follow services in Sharon Cemetery, Drexel, Missouri. Friends are welcome to attend. Face masks are encouraged and social distancing should be observed. 

Memorial contributions may be made to the Drexel VFW. Messages of condolence may be left for the family at

A complete obituary is pending at this time.

Some exciting news!

Yesterday marked both a bittersweet end and an exciting new beginning for my personal and work family! At 5:00pm yesterday, we closed the doors of my daycare in Rich Hill that holds the Magic Years name after 4 1/2 years in business.

On January 4, 2021, those same doors will be reopened under a new name!! Same owner, same staff and same kids!

Tyler and I have thought a lot over the past year about where we would like to see the daycare go in the very near future and after things settled down with Covid a bit, we decided to jump in with both feet!

The Rich Hill location will remain open and functioning just as it has since 2016. We will continue to operate within our Magic Years license for a few weeks until state is able to send our official new license out.

With lots of prayers and crossed fingers, we are hoping to open another location in a surrounding community soon and we look forward to being able to serve many more families!! Thank you to everyone who has been a part of this journey and we look forward to many more years under our new name!!!!

Mendee Green, Tyler Green, Kelly Klinksick

Holiday Weekend Forecast

It's bitterly cold out there this Christmas Eve morning with wind chill values in the single digits as of 5 AM. 

The wind will slowly let up today but temperatures will only be able to climb into the 20s across the area. It gets warmer for the weekend though with highs in the 50s for Saturday.

Grinch Captured in St. Clair County


*******Grinch Captured******

On December 24th, 2020, St. Clair County deputies managed to apprehend The Grinch on a Felony charge of Attempting to Steal Christmas. There was not a bond set, and The Grinch will stay in custody until after Christmas. 

The arrest was made after St. Clair County deputies responded to a call for service in regards to an individual conspiring to steal Christmas on Mount Crumpit. 

Upon arrival, the deputies made contact with the Grinch, who claimed that he hated Christmas, and had intent on making sure that it was not celebrated this year.

Sheriff Scott A. Keeler and the entire staff of St. Clair County Sheriff’s Office would like everyone to know that Christmas is safe this year, and that we wish you all a Merry Christmas!