"You don't get over this. I'm a big ol' guy, but I've got a pretty soft heart, and it 's pretty hard to take some of this," the sheriff said.
Adler says Gina Guenther left her four young children in Terry Volner's care.
"He'd been living here, been taking care of the children while mother's at work," he said.
Investigators haven't said if they found "a boyfriend" of Gina Guenther whom Volner told his mother he killed. Adler says Volner is not Guenther's boyfriend.
The Guenthers' home at 10124 Highway Z is five miles south of Competition and about 12 miles north of Hartville. The home has a Hartville post office address.
Early Wednesday, the probable cause statement says, Volner sent photos by cell phone to a woman. They show Dusty Guenther's body "in some tall grass with a laceration to his throat and what appears to be a wet stick holding his chin up.
"Another picture showed Dusty laying in the same position, with what appeared to be an adult's left arm held up in front of the camera. There was a tattoo on the arm in the picture, which is consistent with a tattoo located on Volner's left arm. It appears the tattoo is 'Volner' in cursive writing. There were also two pictures of what appears to be a small leg submerged in ice covered water," the probable cause statement says.
Adler said he'd like to hear from anyone else who heard from Volner early Wednesday.
"If they received pictures from him, any texts that he sent, I need to know that," he said.
The sheriff believes Volner then stabbed himself in the stomach.
"Was he trying to cover up something or make it look like somebody assaulted him? We don't know," Adler said.
Volner was at the Guenthers' home when law enforcement officers arrived. The state trooper who wrote the probable cause statement says Volner confessed on Wednesday that he killed Dusty on Tuesday evening or early Wednesday using "a folding knife to stab Dusty in the neck" and then put the body in the lagoon.
The probable cause statement doesn't say if Volner made the confession at the family's home or in the hospital in Springfield. Adler says Volner hasn't given a reason for killing Dusty, or explained why he confessed to five other murders.
Volner was still in a hospital on Thursday after being treated for a stab wound in his stomach. Adler said Thursday afternoon that Volner was on the way back to Hartville, where he will be held in the Wright County jail in lieu of a $1 million bond.
Now a mother is in mourning for the loss of her son, and a place where children usually laugh and play is now quiet. It's a case no one can understand.
"It's sick. It's really sick. You know somebody is not in their right mind, or something is wrong with somebody to act like," said Adler.
Volner is charged with first-degree murder, armed criminal action and abandonment of a corpse. If he's convicted, he could face a death penalty or a life prison sentence.
Volner went to state prison for a three-year sentence in May 2008 after pleading guilty to charges of stealing animals, burglary, stealing a motor vehicle and knowingly burning. The Missouri Department of Corrections says Volner completed his sentence and was released last March 11.
As an aside, Adler says Volner is related -- but he's not sure how -- to four other people who were charged and later convicted of a murder in 2008. Those are Benny Volner; Benny's brother, Elvis Volner; their cousin, Dennis Volner; and Dennis Volner's wife, Julia. They ambushed and beat Dustin Skaggs, a cousin of the Volners, in Douglas County and dumped him in his car in a rock quarry in Laclede County. Investigators learned Benny Volner thought Skaggs was having an affair with his wife, so he enlisted the help of others to kill him.