EXCLUSIVE: Wife of murdered KKK leader claims innocence hours before arrest

Malissa Ancona during an interview with KMOV on February 12, 2017. (KMOV)

WASHINGTON COUNTY, Mo. (KMOV.com) – The wife of a local Ku Klux Klan leader spoke exclusively to News 4 after her husband, Frank Ancona, was found with a fatal gunshot wound to the head over the weekend.

Fifty-one-year-old Ancona had identified himself as the Imperial Wizard for the Ku Klux Klan for nearly two decades.

“My husband wouldn’t hurt anyone, he was generous, he was nice to everyone he met,” said Malissa Ancona, who also described him as a man with beliefs many would find offensive. “He doesn’t believe anyone should be killed or murdered or anything, he just believes in the separation of the races.”

Hours before she was taken into custody on suspicion of murder, Ancona spoke exclusively with News 4 and said her husband received a lot of threats.

“Well, he’s with a certain organization. There’s been a lot of things along the lines of threats, but I don’t know.”

Ancona also told News 4 she was the last person to see her husband at their home in Leadwood on Thursday morning. She also said she didn’t report him missing for more than 24 hours, saying at first she thought she had to wait 48 hours and then saying she thought he took off.

“He kept saying he needed a break, so that’s what I thought he was doing originally, was taking a break,” she said.

The day he went missing, Ancona’s car was found in the Mark Twain National Forest, about an hour away from his home in Leadwood. One day later, his body was found in the Big River in Washington County. Police said they believe he was killed in St. Francois County.

“I am cooperating,” said Ancona. “I let them come into the house without a search warrant, I let them take whatever they wanted.”

When police searched the home, Frank Ancona Jr. said he thought they found something of importance.

“I seen them coming out with chunks of ceiling tile and blankets. I just knew they found something in the house,” he said.

During her interview with News 4, Ancona said police had taken the former Ku Klux Klan leader’s stepson into custody on an unrelated warrant. She also said she believes he had nothing to do with her husband’s death.

During News 4's interview Sunday, Ancona said she has been working with the St. Francois County Sheriff's Department in the investigation because she believes the local officials are not being cooperative.

"The Leadwood police are trying to pin everything on me, instead of listening to evidence and stuff, where as St. Francois County is actually working with me on trying to find out what actually did happened," she said.

Monday, police announced Ancona and her son, Paul Edward Jinkerson Jr. were charged with first-degree murder, tampering with physical evidence and abandonment of a corpse in Frank's death.

Copyright 2017 KMOV (Meredith Corporation). All rights reserved.

Digital Content Producer

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