A delicate digging operation continues in west-central Missouri as searchers look for evidence, some of which could very well be buried in glass jars, to use against five men accused of abusing young girls in the mid-80s and 90s.
This all began when a 26-year-old woman approached Independence police about memories she had suppressed for years. She claimed that she and other young girls had been sexually abused by men in her family. It began, she said, when she was five and ended at age 11 when she was forced to have an abortion. Others have come forward to support her allegations. All say they wrote notes and buried them in glass jars on the farm as a way to deal with bad memories.
State Highway Patrol Corporal Bill Lowe says workers are searching for those jars and, possibly, for a body or bodies. Authorities say there are indications that at least one person was killed and buried on the farm near Bates City in Lafayette County. They have declined to elaborate further on that point.
Lowe says investigators suspect there are other victims and hope they come forward as well as the investigation continues. Anyone with information can call either 660-259-6789 or 816-474-TIPS.
Charges have been filed against 77-year-old Burrell Mohler, Sr. of Independence, who is alleged to have presided over the abuses, 53-year-old Burrell Mohler, Jr. of Independence, 52-year-old David Mohler of Iowa, 48-year-old Jared Mohler of Columbia and Ronald Mohler of Bates City. The five were arrested in coordinated raids. All were brought into a Lafayette County courtroom in Lexington, shackled and in jail uniforms.
The charges range from forcible sodomy and rape to use of a child in a sexual performance. Court documents accuse the men of systematically abusing the girls, all of whom were younger than 12, sometimes putting the children through mock weddings prior to their abuse. Court documents also indicate that her once suppressed memories have been supported by the statements of others.