Sisters found dead two days after they vanished were slain by disgruntled friend
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Prosecutors have filed first-degree murder charges against a man who they say is responsible for the deaths of two Missouri sisters who went missing last week while caring for their small children.
The suspect, Clifford D. Miller, 31, of Trimble, Missouri, had gotten high on methamphetamine on Friday morning and decided he wanted to have sex with Britny Haarup, 19, whom he had liked, according to police.
But when he arrived at Haarup’s house, he woke up her sister, 22-year-old sister Ashley Key, who was sleeping on the couch. Officials said at that point, Key confronted Miller and he decided he had to get rid of her.
‘He began to punch her and beat her until she quit moving and then he smothered her with a pillow,’ Platte County Sheriff Richard Anderson said in a televised news conference on Monday.
‘After Miller killed Ashley [Key], his intention of sexually assaulting [Haarup] then changed to an intent to kill her. He picked up an object and walked into the bedroom.’
There, Anderson said, he found Haarup sleeping with one of the sisters’ small children. After Miller hit her in the head with a stick, he and Haarup struggled for a bit before he also smothered her to death with a pillow, the Kansas City Star reported.
He then tried to sexually assault her, but couldn't, authorities said.
Miller next took the baby to the room where the other child was sleeping, smoked more meth and tried to clean up the crime scene, officials said.
He placed the women's bodies in their white Dodge Ram pick-up truck and then hid them on a farm, according to police. He also attempted to get a friend to sell four guns he found at the house for getaway money. He then went home and took a shower.
Miller was arrested Sunday morning at his girlfriend’s apartment in Parkville after police was tipped off about his whereabouts. He had allegedly confessed to the killings and told police where to find the victims' bodies.
The women's emotional father spoke at the Monday news conference.
‘My daughters were very wonderful people,’ Paul Haarup said. ‘Their short lives are not going to be forgotten. Because of this situation, we are sentenced to life in our duty that the daughters left behind are aware of how special their mothers were.’
Platte County Prosecutor Eric Zahnd said he would evaluate whether to seek the death penalty under Missouri's murder statutes. Otherwise, Miller will face life in prison without parole, if convicted.
Two sisters' corpses were found in a field in Clinton County two days after they had gone missing, leaving their shoes and cell phones behind.
When Ms Haarup's fiancé came home and found the pair missing, he also discovered a bloody comforter and that some of his guns had been taken as well as a white pick-up truck.
Ms Haarup's father, Paul, said Ms Key, the mother of a four-year-old, had been 'running with the wrong crowd' and he feared someone from her past might have abducted them, he told the Kansas City Star.
Matt Meyers, who was engaged to marry Ms Haarup, said he found her two children, age six months and 18 months, alone in their crib. She has never been known the leave her children by themselves before.
Police discovered that Ms Haarup and Ms Key, who was staying at the home in tiny Edgerton in northwest Missouri, had left their shoes and their purses. Ms Haarup also left her cell phone at the house.
On Saturday police discovered the truck, unoccupied, several miles from Edgerton. That same day, detectives searched two unidentified locations. They have also begun questioning a person of interest in the case.
Police believe the sisters left the house about 9.30am on Friday. Ms Haarup's children were alone until 4pm when Mr Meyers returned home from work.
'She is a very good mother, she would never leave her kids at home, especially for that amount of time,' Mr Meyers' sister, Cassandra, told Fox 4 in Kansas City.
Miller is being held in the Platte County jail on $500,00 cash-only bond.