** UPDATE ** Woman arrested in missing persons case – accused of shooting the victim

12-18-2020


KMIZ — A woman arrested Thursday on suspicion of murder and armed criminal action is accused of shooting a person in the face in a McDonald’s drive-thru.

Prosecutors charged Angelica Benitez, 29, of Moberly, on Friday with second-degree murder and armed criminal action in the death of a person identified as MH in court documents. She has an initial court hearing set for Thursday afternoon.

Boone County Jail records show Benitez was booked into jail Thursday night. She is being held without bond.

A probable cause statement says Benitez was in a pickup truck Monday afternoon with MH and her boyfriend, who was driving, in the drive-thru of the Clark Lane McDonald’s when she shot MH in the face with a pistol. The statement says Benitez’s boyfriend told investigators he did not know why Benitez shot MH.

Officers went to the McDonald’s next day after Benitez’s boyfriend called police, according to the statement. Investigators tied the truck to the scene using surveillance video, according to the statement.

Benitez was with a missing Jefferson City man the last time he was seen in Columbia, according to a Columbia Police Department release on Wednesday. The release said Benitez was a passenger in a truck with 25-year-old Marqukis Hayes. They were last spotted together in a McDonald’s drive-thru.

After the shooting, Benitez and her boyfriend went to the Super 8 motel on Clark Lane, according to the statement. Benitez then drove away in a pickup truck which was later found in Valley Park with a dead body in the back seat, according to the statement. Investigators confirmed the body was MH, the document says.

Police say Benitez admitted to the shooting and moving the body.

Columbia Police Department Chief Geoff Jones declined to comment about the body being found Thursday night.

Police plan to hold a news conference about the case at 2 p.m. ABC 17 News will stream the event live.

Benitez pleaded guilty to assault in Randolph County in a 2015 incident. She was accused of hitting a woman with a vehicle then stabbing her because she was upset over social media statements. The victim had a broken leg and several lacerations, police said at the time.

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