The body was identified as 21-year-old Independence resident Ariel Anne-Rae Starcher. The Buchanan County Sheriff’s Dept. investigated the case as a homicide.
Two people were arrested in February 2021 in Independence in connection to the case, KSHB-TV reports.
Taylor Stoughton, 22, was charged in February with second-degree murder and abuse of a corpse.
Marcus Brooks, 30, was charged on Friday, April 16, with first-degree murder.
KSHB quotes a probable cause statement saying authorities allege Brooks and Stoughton “obstructed Starcher’s airflow until she was unconscious, then covered her mouth and nose with ‘a hotel wash cloth and available binding material.’”
Starcher was then “restrained and placed in a duffel bag” that was found in the ditch.
KSHB reports an unidentified witness said Brooks tied Starcher’s arms and legs and stuffed the washcloth in her mouth at the Sleep Inn hotel at 7611 Northwest 97th Terrace, about 4 miles away from the Kansas City International Airport, according to court documents.
Starcher’s body was found about 30 miles northwest of the hotel.