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‘That’s a Tough Question’: Missouri Man Allegedly Couldn’t Explain How a Woman Beaten to Death with a Claw Hammer Ended Up in Garage Closet

Adam Alfred Conner via the Boone County Sheriff's Office

Adam Alfred Conner via the Boone County Sheriff’s Office

A 37-year-old Missouri man was arrested this week for allegedly beating a woman to death and hiding her body in a closet inside of his garage.

Adam Alfred Conner, of Columbia, was taken into custody on Monday and charged with one count each of second-degree murder and tampering with physical evidence in a felony prosecution, court records reviewed by Law&Crime show.

According to a press release from the Columbia Police Department, patrol officers at approximately 3:40 p.m. on Oct. 10 responded to a residence located in the 1700 block of High Quest Drive in reference to a report of a “missing person at risk.” After arriving at the scene, officers allegedly discovered the body of a female victim “concealed in a closet” that showed signs she had been brutally beaten.

“There was evidence that the victim was restrained and had suffered severe blunt force trauma to the head,” the release states. “Due to the severity of the victim’s injuries, we are unable to make a positive ID at this time. But until we can obtain more definitive information we are not able to release a name. For now, the female victim will be referred to as Jane Doe.”

A probable cause affidavit obtained by Columbia ABC affiliate KMIZ provided additional details about the circumstances of Jane Doe’s death.

According to the report, Conner’s mother placed the 911 call on Monday and reported that she had not seen her roommate since Friday. Conner was at the residence with his mother when police arrived, and she reportedly told the officers that her roommate was mentally ill and she asked if they could make sure the other woman wasn’t somewhere in the house.

It was during that search that an officer reportedly discovered the body of the victim. She was described as “a frail, disabled, 58-year-old woman who can barely walk.” The closet containing the body was reportedly blocked by a 40-pound bag of birdseed. Police reportedly said the victim’s body was cold to the touch and positioned face-down with the legs restrained. She reportedly died of blunt force trauma to the head and was unrecognizable.

In an interview with investigators, Conner reportedly claimed that he had not seen the victim since early Saturday, but police say his timeline was inconsistent. When asked how the victim ended up in the closet, Conner allegedly provided an odd answer.

“Why would… I don’t know. That’s a tough question man… Why would I… I don’t know sir. I’ve never hit anybody in my entire life,” Conner allegedly told police. “I’m not a uh that kinda person. I’m just not. Let alone hurt somebody like that.”

Police searched the backyard of the home and discovered blood-soaked clothing in trash bags as well as a “bloody claw hammer that crime-scene investigators claimed were consistent with the victim’s head injury,” per KMIZ.

Conner’s mother reportedly told police that her son was at the house on Saturday and told her that she should not go in the garage.

The victim was reportedly wearing a Life Protect device with GPS location that was pressed three times in two minutes just before 3 a.m. on Saturday. When firefighters arrived, they reportedly said that the garage door would not open all the way and a man inside the garage told them the victim had already gone to the hospital.

Conner previously spent more than a year in prison after being convicted of felony stealing and second-degree burglary in 2020. He was released in March 2021 and was reportedly on parole at the time of his arrest.

[image via Boone County Sheriff]

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Jerry Lambe is a journalist at Law&Crime. He is a graduate of Georgetown University and New York Law School and previously worked in financial securities compliance and Civil Rights employment law.