A gruesome investigation moves slowly forward in Lafayette County as the search of a farm near Bates City has yet to uncover much evidence to back some serious allegations.
A search warrant authorized by the Lafayette County Circuit Court discloses just what investigators are searching for on the former farm of Burrell Mohler, Sr.; not just the glass jars with notes written by the alleged victims, but human remains. No murder charges have been filed against Mohler or his four middle-aged sons or the great-uncle from Florida accused of the sex crimes the men are alleged to have carried out between 1988 and 1995. But investigators are trying to determine whether a newborn was killed and buried on the farm and whether a 300 pound man was killed by Burrell Mohler, Jr. and his daughters.
The application for a search warrant filed in Lafayette County Circuit Court requested permission to search for “Human remains, including but not limited to bones, hair, teeth, fibers, blood or any other trace evidence” connected with the allegation of a homicide. Searchers are looking for the remains of a newborn.
An affidavit filed in circuit court states that a witness came forward after the case became public, claiming to have been held in a basement on the property She stated that she had been abused by all five defendants and became pregnant twice during her years of captivity. She has told authorities that Burrell Mohler, Sr. and Burrell Mohler, Jr. buried her first child in the basement, which at the time had a dirt floor. Shortly thereafter, the men covered the basement floor with a layer of concrete. Presumably, the second pregnancy ended with an abortion.
77-year-old Burrell Mohler, Sr. has been charged with presiding over the sexual assault of the girls by his sons: 53-year-old Burrell Mohler, Jr.; 52-year-old David Mohler, 48-year-old Jared Mohler and 47-year-old Roland Mohler. Also arrested in the case is 55-year-old Larry Kidd, identified by the State Highway Patrol as an associate of the elder Mohler. They are accused of sexually abusing girls, ages 5 to 12.
A second affidavit weaves a tale of murder. In it, Ellen Scott alleges that she and her sisters were riding with their father, Burrell Mohler, Jr., near Independence Center when her father began to follow a man in another vehicle into his driveway where Mohler faked a heart attack to get the man to come near him. He subdued the man, got him in the car and drove off with the three girls in the backseat, blindfolded. Scott says Mohler fatally stabbed the man and forced the daughters to help dig a grave. Scott says the murder occurred in 1988 and the man was buried on the elder Mohler’s farm.
The glass jars allegedly carry notes written by the girls as a way to deal with the memories of abuse. They say they made handwritten notes, placed them in the glass jars and buried them on the farm. The girls brother, Erich Mohler, told authorities he once dug up the jars and then reburied them as he had found them. An inventory statement filed by Detective Ray Burns disclosed investigators had found a glass fragment, a bone of an unknown type, part of a credit car, eye glasses, the sole of a shoe or boot and a broken glass jar during their search of the farm.
Adding yet another twist to the story is a published report by the Kansas City Star, in which the newspaper reported that a search of the elder Mohler’s home found incest pornography, recording equipment and old tapes with hand-written titles. Court documents disclose the search was conducted after Mohler’s wife told investigators that her husband kept incest pornography.