COLUMBIA — The Columbia Police Department arrested a woman Tuesday night in connection to a homicide investigation.

Emma Adams

Emma Adams, 20, of Columbia, is charged with second-degree murder, armed criminal action, tampering with physical evidence and abandonment of a corpse. She remains in the Boone County Jail on a $1 million cash-only bond.

The arrest comes after the MU Police Department (MUPD) was called to a welfare check at Hudson Hall, a dorm building on the university’s campus, Tuesday around 5:30 p.m.

MU spokesperson Christian Basi said the welfare check was for a male student, and court documents say the mother of the student made the request. She said she had not spoken to her child since Monday at 10:30 p.m.

Officers did not find the student in his room. They also checked electronic “swipe logs” from the student’s identification card, which showed the last swipe into the room was around noon Monday, court documents said.

Surveillance footage showed the student leave the dorm around 10:40 p.m. Monday and enter an Uber, according to court documents.

With help from Uber and a ping of the student’s phone, officers were led to a home in the 2400 block of Bentley Court, according to court documents. 

At the home, officers found Adams sleeping inside the residence. She first told officers she didn’t know who the student was, according to court documents. 

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She gave officers consent to search the home and backyard, where they found human remains in a fire pit, court documents said, noting the body was “smoldering” and the “odor of burning flesh was present.”

Adams told police the victim was “beating” her, so she stabbed him with a knife in self defense, according to court documents. A bloody pocket knife and a broken cell phone matching the victim’s cell phone were found in the kitchen, court documents said.

After a search warrant was obtained, officers searched the premise and found bloody leaves and blood stains, court documents said. Officers said it appeared that the body was first taken from the front door to the trunk of a vehicle. The vehicle also had blood on the rear bumper, court documents said.

Blood was also discovered from the back door, to the concrete patio, near the fire pit, court documents said. Pieces of the top of a mattress were also found in the burn pit. 

The victim, who is currently being referred to as John Doe, cannot be positively identified because of the condition the body was found in, police said.

Police said investigators have a “good idea” of who the victim is, but more definitive information is needed and next of kin needs to be notified.

The department says its detectives will continue to work with MUPD and other offices to complete the investigation. 

Anyone with information on the incident is encouraged to contact CPD at 573-874-8477 or CrimeStoppers at 573-875-8477.

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