A suspect was arrested June 29 in a 14-year-old Tyrone murder, Texas County Sheriff Scott Lindsey said.
Tommy K. Whetzell, 63, of Liberal, is charged in the death of Ricky Luebbert, 42, whose body was discovered on Nov. 10, 2007, at a residence on Highway H. He had been shot.
Whetzell had earlier been identified as a suspect in an investigation conducted by the Missouri State Highway Patrol and Texas County Sheriff’s Department. That initial inquiry led to Whetzell’s conviction on a federal weapons charge.
In January 2022, the sheriff’s department re-opened the cold case and received resources from the television program, “Cold Justice.” Lindsey said his office reviewed the original case files and evidence. Based on that information, investigators conducted new interviews of witnesses and a suspect, and had additional analysis performed on evidence in the case.
Based on the original investigation and the new effort, a case was presented to a Texas County grand jury, which returned an indictment against Whetzell of first-degree murder, armed criminal action and discharge of a firearm at or from a motor vehicle.
Whetzell was arrested by the Barton County Sheriff’s Department today at his residence and is in the Texas County Jail, where he is held without bond.
“Today represents an important step in seeking justice for the murder of Ricky Luebbert. I hope that this arrest is of some comfort to family of the victim, even though it has taken 14-plus years to reach this point,” said Lindsey. “I would like to commend all the investigators that worked on this case, but especially the deputies that were assigned to re-open the investigation and approached it with dedication and perseverance. I would also like to thank the staff and resources provided by ‘Cold Justice’ to assist with the investigation.”