Officials seek more evidence in Missouri kidnapping after woman found dead in a barrel

Authorities believe there may be another barrel in the Missouri River with more evidence linked to the case of a white man accused of kidnapping, raping and holding a Black woman captive in the basement of his suburban Kansas City home last year, officials said Thursday.

The announcement comes after the remains of a Black woman authorities described as a “potential witness” in the alleged kidnapping were found in a blue barrel in the river.

“We have asked the public to remain vigilant for any suspicious objects, such as blue barrels, particularly on or around the Missouri River,” said Alexander Higginbotham, a spokesman for the Clay County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office. “We have reason to believe that additional evidence may be contained in another blue barrel that could be located on the Missouri River.”

The home where neighbors raised the alarm in Excelsior Springs, Mo.
The home where neighbors raised the alarm in Excelsior Springs, Mo.Sarah Plake / KSHB

In an email, Higginbotham did not provide additional details about the evidence authorities are searching for, and did not respond to a question about whether race played a role in the alleged crimes.

After announcing the discovery of the second woman, Jaynie Crosdale, prosecutors on Monday said the previously set bond amount of $3 million for Timothy Haslett Jr. was insufficient to ensure the safety of the community and the victim.

Haslett was indicted in February on nine charges, including rape, sodomy and kidnapping. He has pleaded not guilty.

A judge denied the bond request and prosecutors have not charged Haslett in connection with Crosdale’s death. Haslett’s lawyer did not respond to a request for comment.

In a statement Monday, the prosecutor’s office said that Crosdale was “inside” Haslett’s home before his Oct. 7 arrest. Efforts to reach Crosdale’s relatives have been unsuccessful.

Excelsior Springs police identified Crosdale as a possible witness in Haslett’s case in January and asked for the public’s help in finding her. Authorities said at the time that they believed Crosdale had “information about the investigation.”

Citing an ongoing investigation, Higginbotham declined to say if it was still accurate to describe Crosdale as a witness and if there were forthcoming charges in her death.

“However, our office is working closely with law enforcement to gather all evidence and information that is needed to build the strongest case possible and deliver justice for Jaynie Crosdale,” he said. “We will continue to pursue evidence quickly and aggressively in this matter and hope to be able to provide the public with more information in the near future.”

Higginbotham said the county’s top prosecutor, Zachary Thompson, and a deputy prosecutor joined the Missouri Highway Patrol on Tuesday to “familiarize” themselves with the area where Crosdale was found.

Her body was identified July 30 after kayakers spotted the blue barrel in Saline County, east of Haslett’s home in Excelsior Springs. Higginbotham declined to provide additional details about the search.

In the previous case, a 22-year-old woman escaped from Haslett’s home with a padlocked metal collar around her neck and duct tape on her mouth, authorities have said in a probable cause statement.

The woman told authorities that Haslett picked her up in Kansas City in early September and accused him of raping, whipping and restraining her with handcuffs for weeks, according to the statement.

She escaped when Haslett took his child to school, the document says, and pleaded for help from neighbors. One neighbor, Ciara Tharpe, recalled the woman saying that other friends who’d also been held captive “didn’t make it.”