Reeds, Mo. man arrested in Avilla, Newton County homicides

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Update:

The Jasper County Sheriff’s Office announced at 3:30 p.m. on Monday that the family of the two people found shot to death in Avilla had been notified of their deaths.

The Sheriff’s Office identified them as Mason McClure, 34, of the home at 255 Greenfield St., Avilla, and Nicole Hodges, 34, Joplin.

The Sheriff’s Office said autopsies conducted today showed preliminarily that both victims died of multiple gunshot wounds.

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Earlier:

A Reeds man was arrested in connection with the deaths of two people in a home in Avilla on Sunday and the death of a 25-year-old woman whose body was found in Newton County on Saturday.

The Jasper County Sheriff’s Office announced on Monday that Kevin C. Johnson, 24, Reeds, was arrested and is currently in the Jasper County Jail awaiting charges in the deaths of a man and a woman found in a home at 255 Greenfield St., in Avilla.

Also on Monday, the Newton County Sheriff’s Office said the deaths in Avilla and the death of Brylee O’Bannon, 25, who was found in a ditch in the area of State Line Road and Angus Drive are believed to be related.

Jasper County Chief Deputy Sheriff Derek Walrod said his department plans to release the names of the two victims in Avilla later on Monday.

Timeline

Newton County Sheriff Chris Jennings said in a written release that deputies responded to State Line Road and Angus Drive at 4:10 p.m. on Saturday, Feb. 20, to the report of a possible body in the ditch on the east side of the road.

Jennings said deputies located the body and identified the remains as O’Banion.

“An autopsy is scheduled to determine the exact cause of death,” Jennings said. “Our investigation in tracking the last known whereabouts of the victim led us to Jasper County. Two individuals of interest were being sought by Newton County Detectives for questioning after information was received that they had recently been with the victim. At this point Jasper County Deputies also became involved.  

“A double homicide was discovered in Jasper County at this time. Deputies from both agencies believe the homicides are connected. The investigations are continuing with both Newton and Jasper County Deputies working together.”

At 5:30 p.m. on Sunday, Jasper County deputies were called to 255 Greenfield St., Avilla after a man and a woman were found dead in that home.

Jasper County deputies arrested Johnson as a suspect in those homicides at 4:30 a.m., Monday.

“There are no other suspects being sought at this time,” the written release said. “An autopsy has been scheduled for both individuals for today. This incident appears to be related to the homicide that occurred in Newton County on 02-20-21. Investigation into these incidents continues.”

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