By Jeff Lehr
A parole absconder being sought for questioning in a homicide was fatally shot when a fugitive task force caught up with him Friday morning outside the Motel 6 in Joplin.
Michael D. Findley, 45, of Springfield, was killed about 8:35 a.m. in the parking lot of the motel at 3031 S. Range Line Road where he had checked in as a guest.
The U.S. Marshals Service Fugitive Task Force and Greene County sheriff’s deputies attached to the task force reportedly went to the motel looking for Findley and ran into him outside his room. Joplin police said shots were fired and Findley was killed.
“I don’t know if he fired any shots,” said Joplin police Cpl. Chuck Niess. “I do know that he had a gun.”
He said the immediate facts and circumstances of the shooting, including the number of shots fired and by whom, remain under investigation by Joplin police.
No officers or civilians were injured in the shooting. Police said an autopsy will be performed on the body of the fugitive.
Findley reportedly was being sought for questioning in the death of a woman in Battlefield earlier this week. Desiree A. Haugen, 23, was found dead Tuesday inside an apartment building on Hutchinson Court in Battlefield. The Greene County Sheriff’s Department has been investigating that case.
Joplin police initially referred to the man killed at the motel as a suspect in a homicide but later withdrew the reference. They began referring to him instead as a parole absconder with a conviction for assaulting a law enforcement officer and an active warrant for felony stealing.
Missouri Department of Corrections records show Findley was convicted of an assault on an officer in 2005 in Christian County, and was sentenced to 12 years in prison. He had felony convictions the same year for child endangerment in Webster County, forgery in Douglas County and four counts of stealing in Greene County.
He served time at the Northeast Correctional Center in Bowling Green from February 2005 until he was paroled on Sept. 29, 2010. He returned to the prison on April 13, 2012, following a parole violation and was released again on May 15 of last year.