The Joplin Globe, Joplin, MO

May 2, 2013

Charge dropped lack of evidence cited in motion

— The Jasper County prosecutor’s office this week dropped the prosecution of a rural Webb City man on a charge that he sexually abused a 4-year-old girl.

Prosecutor Dean Dankelson said the state has insufficient evidence to proceed at this time with the prosecution of Steven D. Thurston.

Thurston, 55, was charged Dec. 13 with first-degree statutory sodomy after an investigation by the Jasper County Sheriff’s Department. A probable-cause affidavit alleged that he had abused the girl on more than one occasion before June 30 of last year when she reportedly made a disclosure to her father.

Thurston was scheduled to have a preliminary hearing Wednesday in Jasper County Circuit Court. The prosecutor’s office instead asked that the charge be dismissed.