Scott County Sheriff continues investigation of 1992 murder - KFVS12 News & Weather Cape Girardeau, Carbondale, Poplar Bluff

Scott County, MO

Scott County Sheriff continues investigation of 1992 murder

Joshua Kezer walks out of jail beside his mother. Joshua Kezer walks out of jail beside his mother.

By CJ Cassidy

SCOTT COUNTY, MO (KFVS) - Who killed Mischelle Lawless?  It's a question Scott County Sheriff Rick Walter says has haunted him since the Scott County woman's brutal murder back in 1992.

Walter says he can't name any suspects at this time, but he certainly has some persons of interest in mind and several leads to follow.

The sheriff says he always planned on bringing the Lawless family some justice, and he has his work cut out for him.

An older, happier Josh Kezer walked out of prison in Jefferson City Wednesday.

That's quite a contrast to the young man who walked out of court back in 1994 after a jury sentenced him to 60 years in prison for the murder of Mischelle Lawless.

But despite his own excitement, Kezer said the Lawless family was also on his mind.

"I don't expect them to jump off the hate train," Kezer said. "I will let them heal according to their own process. I hope they find the person who did this to them someday."

Kezer's walk to freedom opens up a new chapter in Sheriff Walter's investigation.

He remembers finding Mischelle's body inside her Buick near the Benton exit off of Interstate 55.  She had been shot in the head.

Now Walter vows to find her killer.

"We'll look at photographs, where we think someone may have grabbed her, talk with lab experts, try to determine if someone may have grabbed clothing test areas of clothing," he said.

Besides sorting through boxes and boxes of interviews and case files, Walter says the biggest problem he faces is funding.

"A lot of our testing up until this point, we've been fortunate to have the Innocence Project out of New York City," Walter said. "They funded a lot of testing, but all they're looking to is to free an innocent man. It's not their job to solve this case."

Walter says solving the case is his job.

Heartland News spoke with Mischelle's brother a while back, long before the judge handed down the ruling on Kezer.  At the time he said he simply wanted the killer to be punished.

Heartland News also tried calling former Scott County Sheriff Bill Ferrell, but he did not return the calls.

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