Missouri couple commited first-degree murder face first court appearance

After eight days on the run, Richard D. Davis, 41, and Dena D. Riley, 39, who lived with him in Independence, were arrested Thursday in southwest Missouri when their pickup truck was involved in an accident.

They are charged with first-degree murder, first-degree assault, kidnapping, forcible rape and forcible sodomy in the death of Marsha Spicer, 41, of Independence.

Spicer's body was found May 15, a day after she was believed to have been killed, and Davis and Riley had been questioned and released. Later, authorities obtained a warrant to search their home and discovered a videotape they say shows Spicer being beaten, sexually assaulted and choked.

Also Tuesday, The Kansas City Star reported that an unidentified high-ranking law enforcement officer said police were investigating whether a body found in a rural area of neighboring Clay County is connected to the case, the AP reports.

Authorities have been trying to determine whether a woman seen on another tape found in the couple's residence is Michelle Ricci, 36, who has not been seen since April 2.

Sherry Ballew, Ricci's mother, has said her daughter and Spicer were friends. Ballew told Kansas City station KMBC-TV in an interview broadcast Monday that an Independence police officer told her about a body having been discovered. She said she believed it is that of her daughter.

Another family member said police asked Ballew and her granddaughter to provide DNA samples.

Ken Evans, spokesman for Jackson County prosecutor Mike Sanders, declined to comment on Ballew's remarks.

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