Authorities: Car in Kansas River murder case was stolen out of small Missouri town
photo by: Libby Stanford
The night before it allegedly was used in the murder of a child, a car pulled from the Kansas River in Lawrence was reported stolen from a tiny Missouri town, a law enforcement official has confirmed.
The car’s owner called the Monroe County Sheriff’s Office just after 9:30 p.m. Aug. 2 to report it had just been stolen from the driveway of her home in rural Madison, Sgt. Tony Coleman of the sheriff’s office said.
The 2010 Chevrolet Equinox disappeared within the half hour before the owner called to report the crime, he said. The owner reported seeing her car shortly before, then going outside and finding it missing; she didn’t see anyone take it.
A different car that did not belong to her, a Pontiac Grand Prix, had been left behind, Coleman said.
Coleman said his office started investigating some leads right away and entered the stolen car into a national law enforcement database within an hour or two after the report was made.
However, he said, they didn’t solve their case or get a “hit” from the stolen car turning up elsewhere until the next evening — when it was pulled out of the river in Lawrence.
Authorities allege that Scharron R. Dingledine, 26, of Columbia, Mo., purposely drove the car into the Kansas River to kill her two children who were inside.
Five-year-old Amiyah Bradley drowned, and Dingledine was charged with first-degree murder in her death. One-year-old Elijah Lake was pulled from the water by first responders and hospitalized in critical condition, and Dingledine is charged with attempted first-degree murder in connection with his injuries.
First responders also pulled Dingledine from the water, and she was taken to a hospital and later to jail, where she remains on $1 million bond.
Dingledine had been living with Amiyah, Elijah and Elijah’s father in Columbia.
Madison, with a population of less than 600, is located in central Missouri about 45 minutes north of Columbia. It’s more than three hours away from Lawrence.
The owner of the car, reached Thursday, declined to be interviewed for this story but said on social media that she did not know Dingledine and had not seen her around Madison before.
District Attorney Charles Branson said Monday, when Dingledine was charged, that she had no known ties to Lawrence or Kansas.
Dingledine’s appointed attorney has requested a mental competency evaluation for her, and her next hearing is scheduled for Aug. 28 in Douglas County District Court.
photo by: Douglas County Sheriff’s Office