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Potential witness in alleged Missouri kidnapping, rape case found dead

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(KANSAS CITY) –Months after a grand jury indicted a Missouri man accused of holding a Black woman captive in his basement on nine charges, a potential witness that police had been trying to find for months in the case has been found dead.

Clay County Prosecuting Attorney Zachary Thompson announced in a press release Monday that remains found June 24 were positively identified as Jaynie Crosdale, a potential witness in the case against Timothy Haslett Jr.

According to ABC local affiliate KMBC, it’s unknown how Crosdale, 36, died and an autopsy is pending. The Missouri Highway Patrol says Crosdale’s body was found in the Missouri River, according to KMBC.

At a February press conference, Thompson said that authorities were still searching for a potential witness whose whereabouts were unknown at that time.

“Our office is working closely with law enforcement to gather all evidence and information that is needed to build the strongest case possible and deliver justice for Jaynie Crosdale,” the Monday release stated. “The family of Crosdale has been notified, and our hearts go out to them for their loss.”

According to Thompson, Crosdale may have had information relevant to the Haslett case.

Haslett, who is white, was arrested in October 2022, after a 22-year-old Black woman said she was being held captive for a month in his Excelsior Springs home, where she was beaten and raped, according to the police.

Authorities have not released the victim’s name.

According to the affidavit filed in the case, the victim fled to a neighbor’s home wearing lingerie, a metal collar with a padlock and duct tape around her neck.

In February, a grand jury indicted Haslett on nine charges, including rape in the first degree, four counts of sodomy in the first degree, kidnapping in the first degree and two counts of assault in the first degree to which he has entered a not guilty plea. A search of his home revealed a small room in the basement that was consistent with what the victim described, the affidavit stated.

Haslett faces up to 36 years in prison if convicted of all charges, according to Thompson.

“This is a dynamic and ongoing investigation, with new information continuing to be gathered at a rapid pace,” the press release said. “We will continue to pursue evidence quickly and aggressively in this matter.”

Haslett has been in custody since October 7, 2022, and is currently being held on a $3 million bond. The Clay County Prosecutor’s Office said they filed a motion Monday to increase his bond in this case with a request for the motion to be heard at the “earliest opportunity.”

The Clay County Prosecutor’s Office did not immediately respond to ABC News request for comment.

Early into the Haslett case, Missouri community members, including Kansas City community leader Bishop Tony Caldwell, claimed other Black women have been abducted and murdered without any police follow-up before this incident.

A Kansas City Police Department spokesperson said in a statement to ABC News last October that there have been no reports of missing persons, more specifically women missing from Prospect Avenue in Kansas City, Missouri, filed to the department.

“In order to begin a missing person’s investigation, someone would need to file a report with our department identifying the missing party,” the statement read. “Again, we notify the media/public anytime our department responds to a homicide in our city and none match, or have been reported to what has been described.”

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