Officers: Family Plot Behind Man's Murder; Four Charged in Relative's Death

A man with ties to Texas County was murdered after his relatives suspected him of dating his cousin’s wife, according to court documents.

The body of Dustin A. Skaggs, 20, was pulled out of a Phillipsburg quarry Saturday after he disappeared the previous Sunday in Douglas County.

Acting on information obtained, authorities found Dustin A. Skaggs, 20, inside a 1996 Dodge Intrepid. Douglas County Sheriff Gary Koop said the car and Skaggs’ body were dumped into the water-filled quarry in the Lebanon area. After obtaining a search warrant for the quarry, Koop, Laclede County Sheriff Richard Wrinkle and divers of the Missouri State Water Patrol began the search at about 10:30 a.m. Saturday.

The vehicle was in about 18 feet of water, Wrinkle said. It was pulled from the quarry at about 11:20 a.m., and the man’s body was found inside.

Arrested are: Benny Volner, 30; Elvis Volner, 20; Dennis Volner, 31; and Julia Monnahan Volner, 27. Officials say Benny and Elvis are brothers, Dennis is a first-cousin, and Julia is married to Dennis. The motive, authorities said, is that the suspects believed the victim was dating Benny’s wife, Crystal.

Elvis Volner was arrested Friday night at the Texas County Memorial Hospital emergency room. County, city and state officers arrived there after receiving a tip that Elvis W. Volner, 20, of #10 Cedar Bluff, Cabool, was with his 1-year-old daughter, who was being treated for bug bites.

Volner was arrested without incident.

According to court documents, Elvis Volner allegedly snuck up on the victim as he prepared to go to work and began bludgeoning him with a pipe. According to a statement in court records, the four are alleged to have been drinking on the morning of the murder and waited near Skaggs’ home for him to leave for work. According to the documents, Julia Volner allegedly flagged down Skaggs as he left for a job at a Mountain Grove nursing home. Deputies said her accomplices waited in her vehicle as she explained to Skaggs her Jeep Cherokee had broken down.

After the attack that included multiple blows, Skaggs was loaded in the back of his car early Sunday, Feb. 10, and driven to the quarry, where the suspects made preparations to dump the car the previous day, according to court documents.

Atonya Hampton, a Douglas County Sheriff’s Department deputy, said Julia and Dennis Volmer told her that threw the murder weapon of a Highway 32 bridge and tossed Skaggs’ cell phone off another bridge. Before that, according to Hampton, Benny Volner pretended to be Skaggs and sent a text message to “Crystal (posing as Dustin Skaggs) that he was going back to Kentucky to patch things up with his wife and to tell the people at work he quit.”

The suspects, who were arraigned Tuesday on first-degree murder charges, are held on $500,000 cash only bond.

Skaggs attended middle school at Houston, but did not finish his education here. His mother lives in the Fairview community.

An obituary appears elsewhere in today’s Herald.

Read court documents related to this case

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