Investigators were clearing the scene Monday afternoon at a Pettis County trailer park after human remains were discovered on the property Sunday — just days after a suspect was arrested at the same trailer on sexual assault and drug charges.
Pettis County Sheriff Kevin Bond said his office is treating the remains as a suspicious death pending the results of an autopsy planned for Tuesday morning by the Boone County Medical Examiner’s Office. According to Bond, deputies were called to the park, located south of Sedalia in Pettis County, around 2:30 p.m. Sunday after being alerted to possible remains by park maintenance workers. Deputies located partial human remains outside the trailer and began securing and processing the scene. Bond said a deputy searching a wooded area near the trailer found additional remains about 6:30 p.m. Sunday.
“The autopsy will be done (Tuesday) morning. The big thing I want to know is are we dealing with one body or multiple bodies,” Bond said. “Also, we don’t have a missing person reported, so we need to find out who this is. The autopsy will assist in maybe determining the manner and cause of death and any evidence or circumstances around that. Those are all very important questions we need to have answered.”
Cadaver dogs provided by the Missouri State Highway Patrol Search and Rescue Team canvassed the area around Trailer No. 19 at the Goodwill Chapel Trailer Park in the 26000 block of Goodwill Chapel Road Monday afternoon, but turned up no additional remains.
Bond confirmed to the Democrat that Trailer No. 19 was the former residence of Joseph F. Arbeiter, 65, who was arrested at the residence on April 30 and charged with attempted rape, sodomy, three counts of assault, possession of a controlled substance, possession of marijuana, possession of drug paraphernalia, unlawful use of a weapon and two counts of armed criminal action. He is currently being held at the Pettis County Jail on a $500,000 bond.
“(Arbeiter) was the resident of the trailer,” Bond said. “He was arrested at the trailer that night on April 30 without incident. The incident he is alleged to have committed was at another trailer.”
Bond said he could not speculate on whether Arbeiter has any association with the found remains.
“I won’t call him a person of interest right now. He wasn’t here when the remains were found, but he is already in jail, so he isn’t going anywhere,” Bond said.
He also declined to give additional details on the type of remains found, but noted, based on the condition of the remains: “This didn’t happen last night, but it’s not just bones, either. Are we talking weeks or months? The autopsy will have to show that.”
Sheriff Bond urges anyone with information regarding this case to contact the Pettis County Crime Stoppers TIPS Hotline at 660-827-TIPS, or call the Pettis County Sheriff’s Office at 660-827-0052.