Despite the passage of a year since two people were murdered and their bodies burned to conceal the still unsolved homicide, the daughter and sister of the victims said the pain is a daily reminder that someone knows what happened and is refusing to come forward.
“To the person or people that did this to my mom and my brother, no matter what they did, they didn’t deserve this,” said Angela Martin, daughter and sister of the victims. “They were our family. They were a brother, a father, a grandmother, an aunt, an uncle, a son. They were loved so much and without a thought, you took them from our lives. We suffer daily with no answers as to how you could do this.”
According to authorities, Green Ridge and La Monte firefighters responded to a structure fire at 9:30 a.m. July 22, 2013, in the 28000 block of Morton Road. After fighting the blaze that was centered on the rear of the home until 1 p.m., they discovered the bodies of Barbara A. Hudson, 56, and Jeremiah A. Hudson, 26, inside. Later that week the coroner would determine the victims died from a gunshot wound prior to the fire, which was determined incendiary in an effort to conceal the crime.
“When the incident took place we called in the rural Missouri Major Case Squad to assist in the investigation and they were here for several days,” said Pettis County Sheriff Kevin Bond. “We addressed all the leads at that point in time, but still had some follow up investigation. During the fall of last year, we continued working on those leads and any additional follow-ups. Unfortunately it has not resulted in a successful conclusion yet.”
Bond said the case is far from closed and they investigate every lead or new piece of evidence that comes their way. Six weeks ago, at the request of the sheriff, the Missouri State Highway Patrol Division of Drug and Crime Control stepped in.
“We decided to ask an outside agency to come in and review what we have done and see if we missed anything,” Bond said. “They are currently working with investigators and going back over the evidence that we have and seeing if there are any new leads.”
As a year has passed without an arrest, there are several obstacles law enforcement faces in solving the case.
“One of the factors is we really have two crimes that occurred separate from each other,” Bond said. “We have the killing that occurred, No. 1, and then the fire to cover up the evidence happened sometime after the homicide actually occurred. While it’s one case, we are having to treat it like two separate incidents.”
Information about the incident is not exactly flowing freely from the lips of potential witnesses or suspects, either.
“We are dealing with the fact that some of the people we are talking to are not completely forthcoming,” Bond said. “We are dealing with a wide variety of people from various locations. Some of them are close by and some are far away. So, the information is not coming forth like we would like it to be.”
The exact details of the events that took place on Morton Road one year ago remain somewhat a mystery as the sheriff’s office and investigators try to piece together the details. They said they do not believe it was a random act and confirm drugs may have been involved.
Martin said no matter what the victims were involved in, it doesn’t excuse their murder.
“They didn’t have the most ‘clean’ way of living, but they were great people with big hearts who would do anything for anyone. They are our family,” Martin said.
Regardless of the outlying circumstances, authorities said they are working diligently to solve the case and provide some closure to the family. Bond said he has brought together multiple resources to help and he still believes it will be solved.
“No one deserves to be a victim of crime, especially the heinous crime that occurred here,” Bond said. “We have two victims that lost their life. In addition to that, we have family and loved ones that have lost their companions. Because of that, justice needs to be served and we are doing everything we can to bring this case to a successful conclusion.”
That conclusion can’t come soon enough for Martin and the rest of her family.
“I just feel like there were so many people that came forward in the beginning. They acted like they had so many good leads and with the Major Case Squad coming in they acted like they were on the right track, then as time went on it just kept fizzling out. Anytime we talk to them, it seems like the same thing, ‘We are still working on it.’ They haven’t given us any king of hope,” Martin said.
Crimestoppers is offering a $1,000 reward for information leading to an arrest in the case. Tips can be made anonymously by calling 827-TIPS or texting a tip to 281-6501.