(This story is written by Missourinet St. Louis contributor Jill Enders)
ST. CHARLES, Mo.- A nearly 26-year-old murder of a girl from eastern Missouri’s St. Ann has finally been solved.
St. Charles County Prosecutor Tim Lohmar called a press conference this afternoon, where he announced that 61-year-old Earl Webster Cox has been charged for the kidnapping and killing of nine-year-old Angie Housman.
Cox is charged in St. Charles County with first degree murder, kidnapping and sodomy. Online court records indicate his bond has been set at $500,000 cash-only.
Lohmar tells reporters that DNA recently discovered on pieces of Angie’s underwear led investigators to Cox, who’s currently a patient in a federal medical facility in North Carolina.
“Cox was initially identified through CODIS (Combined DNA Index System) and his DNA was then collected with his consent and it was retested. Cox was the major contributor of DNA at the location tested,” Lohmar explained.
Cox, who grew up in the St. Louis area, has prior convictions for child sex abuse and for running an international child pornography ring.
Lohmar also says more arrests could be made and says that Ron Bone, Angie Housman’s stepfather, can’t be eliminated as a person of interest.
The details of the murder are gruesome. Missourinet reported during the 25th anniversary of the murder in November that an autopsy determined Angie Housman had been raped and died of exposure. She had only been dead a few hours when she was discovered, meaning she was kept alive during the nine days she was missing.
Housman was reportedly tortured and starved, before being tied to a tree and left for dead. Lohmar isn’t committing to whether or not he’ll seek the death penalty.
“There’s a lot of factors that go into making a decision like that, to ask a jury to seek the death penalty,” says Lohmar. “It’s way too early for us to make that determination. The death penalty is reserved for the worst of the worst. This one seems to resemble something along those lines. We’ll just leave it at that.”
More than 100 people attended a December candlelight vigil in St. Ann, to remember Housman. The December vigil was organized by Angie’s Angels, a group of mothers who are dedicated to solving Housman’s murder.
Trisha Trout of Angie’s Angels spoke to Missourinet at that vigil, and had a warning to whomever is responsible for Angie’s murder.
“Do not think you have gotten away with anything, because you have not. We will find you and we will bring you to justice,” Trout told reporter Jill Enders that evening.
Former St. Ann Police Chief Bob Schrader, who was chief in 1993, told Enders at the December vigil he was hopeful this case would be solved.
“Maybe the DNA that’s been sent off to the company, that’s probably one of the leading companies on extracting DNA in the United States, maybe we can finally put closure to this,” Schrader said that evening. “I’ve been retired for five-and-a-half years, and I can tell you, I want this case cleared before I die.”
There’s no word on when Cox will appear in St. Charles County Circuit Court for his initial arraignment.
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