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Dallas Co. detectives have 2 more 'persons of interest' but no charge for murder of Khighla Parks

The first 'person of interest,' Anthony Balbernie, is charged with abandonment of a corpse.

October 10, 2012|by Linda Russell, KY3 News | lrussell@ky3.com

BUFFALO, Mo. -- The Dallas County Sheriff's Department is seeking two more "persons of interest" in its investigation of the murder of Khighla Parks, 15, of rural Greene County.  Detectives ask the public for help in locating Desiree Siddens, 24, and Larry Warner, 39.  The sheriff did not elaborate on why detectives seek Siddens and Warner.

Despite three people being named as "persons of interest" for Khighla's murder, Dallas County Prosecuting Attorney Barbara Viets had not seen enough evidence for a murder charge by Wednesday evening, or for charges for anything in Dallas County that might have preceded her death.  Investigators said Monday that they think Khighla was killed near Buffalo.

Benton County Prosecuting Attorney Karen Woodley on Sunday charged the first "person of interest" for Khighla's murder with abandonment of a corpse.  She believes Anthony Balbirnie, 47, of Springfield, dumped Khighla's body in Truman Lake, where it was found by a boater on Sept. 30.  If he's convicted, Balbirnie could get a prison sentence between two and seven years, or a fine up to $5,000.

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Woodley's charge against Balbirnie details his history of crime from 1994 to the present, including forgery, drug possession and illegal use of weapons.  Those convictions were in Jackson, Dallas, Greene and Christian counties.

According to a probable cause statement by a Benton County sheriff's deputy, a woman who described herself as "in an on again-off again intimate relationship" with Balbirnie spoke to Greene County detectives on Saturday and told them she saw Balbirnie “participate in wrapping, binding and otherwise preparing” Khighla's body for transport while at her home near Buffalo. 

The woman, according to the probable cause statement, said Balbirnie then put Khighla's body in the trunk of a gold Pontiac Grand Am at roughly 2 or 3 a.m. on Sept. 21 and said he was going to Warsaw.   The detective's use of the word "participate" indicates the witness said someone else helped Balbirnie dispose of the body that night.

DNA analysis confirmed on Oct. 5 that the body pulled from Truman Lake belonged to Khighla.  She disappeared on Sept. 20 after being seen on a road near her home south of Willard.

Khighla's family is planning the family visitation on Thursday evening and a celebration of life on Friday afternoon.

Anyone who saw Khighla Parks after she left home, has any information about the persons of interest or her murder can call the Dallas County Sheriff's Department tip hotline.  That number is (417) 345-8207. Reports can be anonymous.


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