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This Hour: Latest Missouri news, sports, business and entertainment

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County investigates mayor's role in cycling crash

SUNSET HILLS, Mo. (AP) - The criminal investigation of a small-town Missouri mayor accused of purposely striking a bicyclist with his car has been turned over to an outside law enforcement agency.

Sunset Hills Police Chief William LaGrand said Thursday that St. Louis County police will now handle the inquiry. Cyclist Randy Murdick of Fenton says he was nearing the end of a 40-mile ride Tuesday afternoon when Mayor Mark Furrer used an expletive while yelling at him to get off the road and then swerved his red Mercedes into the high-performance racing bike.

Murdick says his Achilles tendon was ruptured and his $12,000 bike damaged extensively. Furrer says he didn't hit Murdick but that the cyclist grabbed onto his car before falling. Murdick and other local cyclists say they regularly encounter hostile drivers.


EPA: Baseball fields near landfill are safe

ST. LOUIS (AP) - The Environmental Protection Agency says baseball fields that sit near a St. Louis County landfill that is contaminated with Cold War-era nuclear waste are safe for public use.

The EPA began an investigation in May after Bridgeton-area residents hired a private firm for radiation testing at the Bridgeton Municipal Athletic Complex. Those tests indicated elevated levels of radiation in drainage areas near ball fields. Concern was strong enough that a May youth baseball tournament with nearly 100 teams relocated to another set of fields.

EPA Regional Administrator Karl Brooks said Thursday that scientific surface gamma radiation screening and soil sampling showed that the fields are safe and no further environmental response is necessary.

A message left with Bridgeton Mayor Conrad Bowers was not immediately returned.


2 arrested in Missouri man's disappearance

COLUMBIA, Mo. (AP) - Two Columbia residents have been arrested in the 2011 disappearance of a central Missouri man, in a case investigators are now calling a homicide.

Thirty-four-year-old Charlie Bell, of Harrisburg, was the subject of a massive search after he was last seen riding his motorcycle on Sept. 15, 2011. His body has never been found.

The Columbia Daily Tribune reports 33-year-old Jennifer Freeman and 43-year-old Patrick Curl were arrested Wednesday. Both were held Thursday on $300,000 bond on charges of evidence tampering and hindering prosecution.

Online court records did not list attorneys for them.

Sheriff's Detective Tom O'Sullivan says Freeman told investigators this week that Bell was killed at his home and that she and Curl were involved with cleaning the crime scene and disposing of the body.


Reserve officer accused of raping ex-girlfriend

ST. CHARLES, Mo. (AP) - A 23-year-old man who works as a reserve police officer in the St. Louis suburb of Pine Lawn is facing charges for allegedly breaking into his ex-girlfriend's apartment and raping her.

Rico Frazier was arrested Wednesday and charged with burglary, rape, felonious restraint and two counts of sodomy. He is jailed on $200,000 cash-only bond, and does not have a listed attorney.

A 22-year-old Lindenwood University student reported the attack in May, at her apartment about two miles from the St. Charles campus. Frazier and the woman were involved in a relationship until October.

Police say the suspect used a rock to smash through a sliding glass door while the woman was sleeping, then sprayed her in the face with law enforcement-grade pepper spray, and sexually assaulted her.


Ex-bank manager sentenced for fraud

SPRINGFIELD, Mo. (AP) - A former southwest Missouri bank manager whose fraud scheme fell apart when she issued checks in the name of a dead customer is going to federal prison.

The U.S. Attorney's office said Thursday that 34-year-old Jennifer Gunter, of Republic, was sentenced to three years and 10 months behind bars. The sentence she received Wednesday also requires her to pay nearly $548,000 in restitution.

Gunter managed a Nixa branch of Guaranty Bank. She pleaded guilty last September to stealing more than $316,000 from the accounts of elderly customers from December 2006 to November 2012.

The fraud was detected when she issued and authorized three checks on the account of a victim who died a day earlier.

Gunter also pleaded guilty to failing to report the embezzled income on her taxes.

Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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