Newton County Sheriff Ken Copeland says the two suspects in the kidnap and murder of 9-year-old Rowan Ford have confessed to the crime. 25-year-old David Spears of Stella, the girl’s step-father, and 32-year-old Chris Collings of Wheaton are charged with one count each of first-degree murder, forcible rape and statutory rape in the death of Rowan.
Copeland says investigators believe Rowan was taken from her home in Stella early November 3rd. Copeland believes the crimes took place in three separate counties. Authorities allege Rowan was kidnapped in Newton County, murdered in Barry County and her body discarded in McDonald County. Copeland says investigators are trying to determine what happened the night Rowan was abducted from her home.
More than 75 law enforcement officers joined in the search for Rowan Ford after her mother reported her missing. It took nearly a week to locate her body, which had been dumped in a sinkhole near Powell, about ten miles south of her home. Deputies found the body on Friday. The arrests of Spears and Collings took place mere hours later and charges were filed this weekend.