OZARK, Mo. (AP) -- A woman whose burned body was found in her southwest Missouri home had been gagged and bound with packing tape to a pole in the home’s basement, according to authorities.
Aaron Clemons was charged Tuesday in Christian County with first-degree murder, kidnapping, armed criminal action, arson and child endangerment in the death of his 29-year-old wife, Bailey Clemons.
Authorities found Bailey Clemons’ body in her Ozark home June 17, a day after the house burned down. Her official cause of death has not been announced. Ozark Police Chief Lyle Hodges said Aaron Clemons was arrested Monday and is being held on $1 million bond. Online court records don’t list a lawyer for Clemons.
According to a probable cause statement, Aaron Clemons told police he subdued his wife by taping her “whole body to a pole” in the basement. He said he talked to her “for an hour or so, and then went upstairs to get some ice,” and told police she was dead when he returned, according to the statement, The Springfield News-Leader reported.
The probable cause statement said when authorities found Bailey Clemons’ body, a sock had been stuffed in her mouth and a belt was around her neck. The statement also said investigators found two melted gasoline containers near her body.
Aaron Clemons said his two children, ages 6 and 9, were at a campsite in Stone County at the time. But the children told investigators they saw Aaron Clemons beat Bailey Clemons, the statement said. One child said Bailey Clemons was crying and saying “I’m bleeding,” and that Aaron Clemons said it would get worse.
The children said Aaron Clemons eventually came out of the basement, and told them he had taken their mother to work and they were now going camping.