A son has confessed to his part in the kidnapping and murder of a drifter, found bound and frozen in a Vandalia trailer late last year. Chad M. Harvey entered an open plea in Audrain County court, pleading guilty to second-degree murder, kidnapping and corpse abandonment. By entering an open plea, Harvey has agreed to a plea without knowing what his prison sentence might be. That will come in December.
Prosecutors charge that Harvey’s father, C. J. Harvey, led his family to kidnap and kill James McNeely, a drifter from Ohio. Authorities found McNeely’s body, wrapped and frozen, in the back of a trailer in Vandalia, a trailer owned by C. J. Harvey. The elder Harvey held off police during an 18-hour standoff when they arrived at his home in Laddonia to ask questions about the body.
Prosecutors allege that Harvey, his three sons and his wife kidnapped, terrorized and suffocated McNeely in the basement of the home, moving the body to the trailer. Investigators believe all members of the family were present at the time of the murder, including two sons who are juveniles, one of whom has been certified to stand trial as an adult. Court dates have been set for later this week of C. J. Harvey and his wife, Angela Harvey.
Chris Newbrough, KXEO, contributed to this story.