KANSAS CITY, Mo. (MCT) — Platte County, Mo., authorities Monday charged Clifford D. Miller of Trimble, Mo., with the methamphetamine-fueled slaying of two sisters whose bodies were found in a field Sunday after they disappeared from their home in Edgerton, Mo.
The 31-year-old Miller faces two counts of first-degree murder in the deaths of the two women he is accused of suffocating when his attempt at a tryst went wrong. His bond was set at $500,000.
A conviction would carry a sentence of life in prison without the possibility of parole. Platte County Prosecutor Eric Zahnd noted he could also seek the death penalty against Miller.
Authorities also confirmed the identities of the victims as Britny Haarup, 19, and Ashley Key, 22. Their bodies were discovered Sunday in southwest Clinton County.
Zahnd said Miller last Friday smoked methamphetamine and went to the home where the women lived. The murder charges contend Miller admitted going to the home with the intention of having sex with Haarup, although the two had no previously sexual relationship.
He entered the unlocked home unannounced and found Key sleeping on the couch, the charges state. Key awakened and confronted Miller, the charges allege, and he punched her and then grabbed an object from a table and struck her with it.
Miller, the charges allege, then smothered her until she stopped moving. The charges allege Miller then entered Haarup’s bedroom with his mind set on a sexual assault struck her with a large stick and then suffocated her with a pillow when she began to scream.
Before leaving the home, the charges contend, Miller smoked more methamphetamine and then took the women’s bodies in a Dodge Ram pickup truck and dumped them near County Line Road in Edgerton. Police later found that truck near Trimble.
Authorities say they found Miller at his girlfriend’s residence in Parkville.
The sisters had noticed been missing since Friday afternoon, when Haarup’s fiance, Matt Meyers, found her two infant daughters alone in a crib at her home in northern Platte County.
Haarup’s cell phone also was left in the residence, as were her purse, her sister’s purse and the shoes her sister had been wearing. On a couch was a blood soaked comforter. Family members said several guns were missing from the home.
Authorities earlier Sunday talked to Miller, at the time calling him a “person of interest,” and served search warrants in Parkville and Trimble, Mo., as the investigation focused on a field near 200th Street and the Platte-Clay county line. There, a Platte County deputy on Saturday discovered a parked vehicle linked to the sisters’ disappearance.
The women’s father attended the press conference, along with other visibly shaken members of the family.
“They’re never going to have a chance to see their mother’s smile,” Paul Haarup said.
Authorities had searched since Friday for a white 2002 Dodge Ram pickup truck that had been parked outside the Edgerton home that morning until about 9:30 a.m.
There were no visible signs of foul play in or on the vehicle located Saturday, and an initial search of the field did not produce any additional evidence, the sheriff’s department said.
The bodies found late Sunday northeast of where the truck was parked were transferred to the Jackson County medical examiner’s office for identification and autopsies.
Prior to the discovery, Paul Haarup said the family was on “pins and needles” as it awaited the results of the investigation, which has included sheriff’s deputies from Platte, Clay and Clinton counties as well as investigators from the Missouri Highway Patrol and the Kansas City Police Department.