The estranged husband of a missing woman who disappeared in Texas County is charged with her murder after confessing following first denying his involvement in the disappearance, authorities said Monday.
Remains believed to be Brittany Gorman, 29, of Mountain View, were found Saturday in Ozark County after the suspect, Dylan J. Hanger, 28, of Mountain View, led investigators to the site near a trailhead road in the Mark Twain National Forest.
The investigation is continuing.
Hanger is charged with second-degree murder and tampering with physical evidence after he told investigators he moved the body from Texas County. He is held in the Texas County Jail without bond after the charges were filed Monday by Texas County Prosecutor Parke Stevens Jr. A formal arraignment was held late Monday afternoon.
Gorman’s unoccupied truck was found May 21 at Buck Hollow off Highway 17 south of Summersville on the Ozark National Scenic Riverways. Two pools of blood were found along with glasses consistent with what Gorman wore. Deputies from the county sheriff’s office and Missouri State Highway Patrol assisted park rangers after the discovery.
TRAIL OF INVESTIGATION
The next day, authorities questioned Hanger, who said he had earlier met his estranged wife at the Signal station at Mountain View to give her some money. That was the last time he had seen her, he said. He denied ever being at Buck Hollow. On social media, he made posts that expressed worry and concern for their children. He wrote on May 26, “To help keep there minds off all the craziness thats happening we are having a movie night – little bit of popcorn and a new cartoon put there minds at ease.” Four are sitting on the floor watching the TV. It is one on several social media posts made. On May 1, he was posting a fishing picture of a woman — who wasn’t Gorman — and referring to a romantic relationship.
Last Wednesday, May 27, investigators with the National Park Service interviewed three witnesses who were at the access point at about 8 p.m. May 20 and saw Gorman’s truck with a shirtless Hanger at the passenger side door. They said Hanger, who worked at a Willow Springs manufacturing plant, saw them and walked to his white Chevrolet Trailblazer and hastily left.
On Saturday, faced with conflicting statements from the suspect, investigators re-interviewed Hanger at about 3 p.m. He again denied his involvement. After an extended conversation, Hanger confessed that a physical altercation occurred at Buck Hollow. He claimed his estranged wife pulled out a knife, touching his shoulder. He said he responded by choking her until she was unconscious. He told officers they both fell to the ground, he realized she was no longer breathing and saw blood on her after Gorman fell on the knife after she hit the ground.
Hanger said he loaded the body into his vehicle, drove to West Plains, turned west on Highway CC and drove several more miles before dumping the body in the woods.
On Saturday, Hanger took officers about 30 yards off a road, where they found partially decomposed remains. Hanger said he had disposed of the knife in Howell or Ozark counties.
“The tragic outcome of this investigation is not what I had hoped and prayed for since Brittany was reported missing,” said Texas County Sheriff Scott Lindsey. “ I want to commend the investigative team of deputies, National Park Service special agents and rangers, Missouri State Highway Patrol investigators and surrounding law enforcement agencies that worked extensively over past 10 days to find Brittany and ultimately seek justice upon her behalf. I am also thankful to the public for providing information to the investigative team throughout this process.”