SEDALIA, MO (KCTV/AP) -- A 27-year-old man has been charged following the death of a 6-year-old central Missouri boy.
According to online court records, Scottie Willet was charged Thursday with first-degree murder and armed criminal action for crimes allegedly committed that same day. He is behind bars in Callaway County, accused of shooting Dayne Hathman multiple times, killing him.
"The important thing is we lost a 6-year-old victim and the family is suffering, but the main thing, we have the man we believe is responsible in custody," said Callaway County Sheriff Dennis Crane.
Crane said Willet admitted to shooting the 6-year-old boy several times after deliberation.
Sheriff's deputies got the call to a home on Primrose Lane about 2:39 a.m. where Dayne's grandmother, who lives next door, reported her grandson missing and said that he had Down syndrome.
"The mother was at work and Willet was the babysitter for the evening," Crane said.
Deputies say Willet got scared when the grandmother questioned him about the boy's whereabouts, stole the boy's mother's car and fled.
Missouri State Highway Patrol spokesman Sgt. Paul Reinsch said the Callaway County Sheriff's Office called the patrol at 3:15 a.m. asking to use its helicopter to search for a suspect in the Little Dixie Conservation area, near Millersburg.
Based on Facebook profiles, Willet appears to be a blood relative of the boy, but the sheriff's department wouldn't confirm that information. The sheriff said Dayne's body was found hidden in Willet's bedroom and only would say that Willet had been living with the family since January and was considered a family friend.
Crane said, since Willet had previously lived in Columbia and Sedalia, MO, the sheriff's department put out a statewide alert. Officials in Sedalia located the missing vehicle about 6:30 a.m. and Willet was taken into custody a few minutes later in a Sedalia trailer park on a Pettis County warrant for littering.
He was located through a cell phone ping, and a handgun was found in his vehicle.
The sheriff said Willet denies any sexual abuse to the little boy, but Crane said they are processing evidence to find out if that was the case.
"Anytime you've got a child's death, it's bad, and if it's an adult and it's a homicide, it's bad. Thank God we don't we them a lot. If I never had one, that'd be OK with me," Crane said.
The investigation continues in Callaway and Pettis counties. An autopsy will be performed and the sheriff's office said they are waiting for an official cause of death from that.
"Right now we're alleging that we believe that we have a lot of evidence that support the charge, along with other things, but obviously we want to make sure we're doing everything right too," the sheriff said.
Crane also said they are looking into if the gun Willet had was stolen.
Willet's bond has been set at $1 million cash only.
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