By Sheila Stogsdill
JAY, Okla. — Delaware County authorities have reopened two 20-year-old cold cases of men who disappeared under suspicious circumstances. They are hoping additional witnesses will come forward, said Charlie Melton, sheriff’s captain.
“Up until now, we haven’t been able to get anybody to work (on these cold cases),” Melton said.
An anonymous telephone tip alerted authorities to search abandoned wells in southern Delaware County almost two years ago for the remains of Johnnie Ball, Melton said. Parts of a shoe or boot, an empty brown billfold and bone fragments were the only items found at one site, he said. The fragments were animal bones.
Ball, 60, was reported missing from his Kansas, Okla., home on Sept. 28, 1988. Ball was declared legally dead in 1996.
According to Melton, Ball was last seen on Sept. 27, 1988, in a green Dodge vehicle in the Twin Oaks and Siloam Springs, Ark., area.
Melton said he has been interviewing about 45 people in the past two years and searched about five sites, all yielding nothing.
However, Melton said after reviewing more old tips authorities now plan to dig at a location in southern Delaware County in the next few weeks. He would not discuss that information further.
The day before he disappeared, Ball had told his brother-in-law that he was coming into some money and if it went well, he would be set for life, his wife, Betty Ball, said in a 2005 interview that appeared in the Globe.
Betty Ball also told authorities that someone came by their house and took some of her husband’s clothing and a puppy, he said.
The family said Ball never signed up for Social Security benefits and believe he was murdered and buried in a well.
“We presume he (Ball) is dead, we just don’t know a motive,” Melton said.
The second case involves William Reed who was last seen on Dec. 9, 1987, in the Colcord and West Siloam Springs area.
Reed used three different dates of birth — March 12, 1955; March 31, 1955; and March 21, 1956; Melton said. Reed has never been declared legally dead, Melton said.
Melton said the Reed case was reopened about a month ago at the request of Reed’s brother.
Reed’s brother also has requested information from the Benton County, Ark., Sheriff’s Department, Melton said. Because their files are kept in old storage rooms, it’s taking some time for Arkansas authorities to retrieve them, Melton said.
“We don’t know what is in the files, but we are reasonably sure there are names of witnesses we would like to contact,” Melton said.
Melton also said authorities have a possible motive, but do not want to make that information public yet.
“We received some statements from a witness that he was killed in the south end of the county,” Melton added.
Charlie Melton, captain with the Delaware County Sheriff’s Department, can be reached at (918) 253-4990. All calls and news tips can remain confidential.
By Sheila Stogsdill
- Local News
Carthage early childhood center gains additional donor support
Another set of names will be added to the new early childhood center to serve students in the Carthage School District. District officials announced Monday that the playground at the new center will be named the Hough Elliff Pound Playground in honor of Helen-Louise (Hough) Elliff.
MSSU board OKs job descriptionfor president
A subgroup of the Board of Governors of Missouri Southern State University on Tuesday approved a formal job description for the president, much of which will be used to advertise for the position as early as this week.
Long, cold winter could prompt more disconnects this spring
Vett Spain, of Joplin, uses both electricity and natural gas to heat her home during the winter. During extremely cold winter months — and this winter has been among the coldest for the area — it can cost her almost $500 a month to heat her home.
College Heights students serve Joplin area during Missions Week
Though the children around her were bouncing off the walls Tuesday to release some of their pent-up energy after a long day at school, Abbi Hardy knew she was in the right place for her service project this week. “It’s fun just because they have so much energy, and it makes me have energy as well,” said Hardy, a sophomore at College Heights Christian School. “They’re sweet kids.”
Joplin sales tax committee to rank project list
Joplin’s Public Works Department has suggested 43 street and bridge projects for a residents’ panel to rank for funding, contingent upon renewal of the city’s capital improvements sales tax.
Former Joplin city manager says Texas hiring ‘bittersweet’
Mark Rohr had mixed feelings Tuesday night when the City Council of League City, Texas, approved a final contract naming him as city manager. “It is a bittersweet moment for me,” Rohr said by telephone.
Transmission line opponents rally in Arkansas as Missouri lawmakers hear from SWEPCO
On Tuesday, about 50 opponents of a large transmission line proposed for construction in Southwest Missouri and Northwest Arkansas rallied in Rogers, Ark., during the 40th annual Governor’s Conference on Tourism.
MSSU board meets today in open session
The Board of Governors executive committee at Missouri Southern State University will meet at 2:30 p.m. today.
Missouri man accused of exploiting teen in Georgia
A Vernon County man is being held on charges that he talked a 16-year-old girl from Georgia into sending him pornographic images of herself and solicited men to have sex with her. Curt L. Bowman, 42, was arrested Friday at his home near Nevada based on information developed by investigators with the Cobb County Police Department in the Atlanta area.
Joplin assistant superintendent position to go unfilled
The recently vacated assistant superintendent position with the Joplin School District will not be filled. That decision is natural now that the district is returning to a more normal operating state nearly three years after the May 2011 tornado damaged or destroyed 10 of its buildings, Superintendent C.J. Huff told the Globe when asked for an update on the vacancy.
- More Local News Headlines
- Carthage early childhood center gains additional donor support