Four People Charged in Death of Iowa Man Found on Fire
Four people have been charged in the death of 44-year-old Michael Williams of Grinnell. His body was found burning in a ditch near Kellogg, in rural Jasper County, on Wednesday, September 16, according to the Iowa Department of Public Safety.
During an early afternoon press conference, the Iowa Department of Criminal Investigation announced 31-year-old Steven Vogel, 55-year-old Julia Cox, 57-year-old Roy Lee Garner, and 29-year-old Cody Johnson are all in custody. All four are from Grinnell. Their booking photos are below.
Vogel has been charged with First-Degree Murder and one count of Abuse of a Corpse. He was being held at the Marshall County Jail on unrelated charges prior to being charged in this case.
Cox and Garner have been charged with Abuse of a Corpse, Accessory After the Fact, and two counts of Obstructing Prosecution. Johnson is charged with Abuse of a Corpse and Accessory After the Fact. All three are being held at the Poweshiek County Jail.
An autopsy from the Office of the State Medical Examiner said Williams's cause of death was "consistent with strangulation." Authorities say he was killed at a Grinnell home on Saturday, September 12. His body was then wrapped in cloth and plastic, and secured with tape and a rope. They believe his body was kept at the home until it was taken to rural Kellogg four days later, and set on fire.
Authorities do not believe Williams's death was racially-motivated. A release from the Iowa Department of Public Safety says,
Evidence and statements gathered during this investigation have shown that Mr. Williams and Vogel were known acquaintances who often socialized within the same circle of friends. The investigation has revealed no evidence to show the acts against Michael Williams were motivated by his race nor that his death was the result of a hate crime.