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JCPAO Press Releases

Posted on: January 30, 2017

Charges filed in 13-year-old murder of homeless man at a KC riverfront camp

For Immediate Release

Jan. 30, 2017

An inmate in a Missouri prison now also faces a Murder 2nd Degree charge in connection with the  2004 death of Ryon McDonald at a homeless camp near the Missouri River here, Jackson County Prosecutor Jean Peters Baker announced today.

Michael J. Gullett, dob: 12/20/1955, faces Murder 2nd Degree for causing the death of Ryon McDonald in May 2004 by striking the victim.*

According to court records filed today, a Missouri Highway Patrol investigation has confirmed that on May 29, 2004, a human leg was located at a Missouri River access in Callaway County, MO. The next day, two fisherman found a human torso in the river in Moniteau County, at river mile marker 177.5. DNA tests and autopsy confirmed the leg and torso were matches. More than 11 years later, a family member of Ryon McDonald, searching for his lost relative, discovered pictures of distinctive tatoos posetd on a Missouri Highway Patrol Missing Person website. The tattoos led him to believe the body parts found in the Missouri River in 2004 were the remains of Ryon McDonald. Further DNA tests, comparing the victim to his mother, indicated a high probability that they were in fact Ryon McDonald. Witnesses told the Highway Patrol investigators that they heard Gullett and the victim arguing one night at a homeless camp near the Missouri River close to Front Street and Kansas Avenue. Then he witnessed Gullett pick up a piece of wood and hit McDonald in the head. Another witness told the investigator that he heard Gullet talk about hitting McDonald in the head, cutting him up and throwing him in the river.

The defendant is currently in a Missouri prison. A judge has set that Gullett is being held on no bond.

For more information, contact:

For more information, contact:

Michael Mansur

Director of Communication

Jackson County Prosecutor’s Office

Jean Peters Baker, Prosecutor

Work   : (816) 881-3812

Mobile: (816) 674-3954

*Charges are only accusations and the defendant is presumed innocent unless and until the defendant is either found guilty or has pleaded.

Charging Document(s)
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