Man charged in missing Arkansas woman’s death
HOT SPRINGS, Ark. (AP) — A parolee has been charged in the slaying of an 80-year-old Arkansas woman whose burned body was found in a cemetery after she was reported missing last week.
Kevin Buerke, 26, was charged Thursday with capital murder in Betty Slaughter’s death. Buerke could face the death penalty or life in prison without parole if convicted, the Sentinel-Record reported.
Garland County jail records don’t list an attorney for Buerke.
Investigators found evidence of suspected foul play at Slaughter’s home after reports she hadn’t been seen since Aug. 21. Surveillance footage from her next-door neighbor showed a gold vehicle entering Slaughter’s property soon after she arrived home that day.
Investigators discovered the vehicle belonged to a woman in Royal who told authorities Buerke was borrowing it for a couple of weeks. Buerke had been staying with the woman and her partner for several weeks for free, according to an affidavit. But the address listed for Buerke’s parole is a home that Slaughter was renting out to Buerke’s grandparents.
Buerke had also been burning piles of items in the Royal woman’s yard that included “women’s clothes,” the woman alleged in the affidavit.
Law enforcement found Slaughter’s burned remains Aug. 25 in a cemetery near the Royal woman’s home. Swab samples from the vehicle had matched Slaughter’s DNA, according to the Arkansas State Crime Lab.
Buerke was a Wisconsin parolee who transferred to Arkansas. He’s been back in custody since Aug. 23 on a forgery charge after investigators found that Buerke a day earlier tried presenting to a bank a counterfeit document granting him “power of attorney” over Slaughter.
The woman who has power of attorney over Slaughter notified investigators Wednesday that an Aug. 21 transaction took place on Slaughter’s Sam’s Club card for a plane ticket purchase. Crime lab personnel later reported finding the card used to purchase the ticket in the vehicle Buerke had been using.
Information from: The Sentinel-Record, http://www.hotsr.com