When Missouri Ku Klux Klan was leader found dead this weekend near the bank of the Big River, as reported by the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, there were no immediate suspects, despite the fact that he’d threatened violence against Black Lives Matters protestors in the past. But now, authorities say that Frank Ancona, 51, who died from a gunshot wound to the head, was killed by his wife and stepson.
The Kansas City Star reports that Ancona’s wife, Malissa Ancona 44, and her son, 24-year-old Paul Jinkerson, have been charged with Ancona’s murder.
According to a probable cause statement describing the charges, Jinkerson killed his stepfather on Thursday inside the family home in Leadwood, Mo. Jinkerson allegedly shot Ancona while he was asleep in the master bedroom. (Ancona shares a name with a car dealer in Olathe, but the two are not related or connected in any way.)
“Ms. Ancona admitted that she failed to report the crime and additionally attempted to destroy blood evidence and altered the crime scene in an attempt to conceal the offense and was acting in concert with her son Paul Jinkerson Jr.,” the statement said.
St. Francois Prosecutor Jerrod D. Mahurin filed the charges Monday morning. He told The Star that he believes he understands a motive for the killing but won’t know for sure until more information comes in.
“I don’t want to speculate and be incorrect later,” Mahurin said.
Frank Ancona was found shot to death Saturday near Belgrade, Mo. The body of the 51-year-old Leadwood, Mo., resident was discovered near the Big River by a family fishing in the area, according to Washington County Sheriff Zach Jacobsen in southeast Missouri.
Washington County coroner Brian DeClue told The Star that Ancona died of a gunshot wound to the head.
Authorities say Ancona’s body was removed from the home and put into the stepson’s vehicle. His body was then dumped in the area where it was later found.
Ancona’s son, also named Frank Ancona, posted a message on Facebook Sunday evening thanking law enforcement officers who “went above and beyond to bring closure to my dads homicide.”
“You men will always be remembered by my family for taking the extra step,” the younger Frank Ancona wrote. “…I now might get more then a hour or two of sleep now we have the suspects in jail, but I’ll never be able to sleep right again knowing I no longer have a father.”
The KKK group’s national headquarters is in Park Hills, Mo., about an hour’s drive southwest of St. Louis.
The senior Ancona’s KKK group is among the newest and most visible of the Klan factions in the country, although it’s not considered the largest. Founded around 2009, the Traditionalist American Knights have made headlines in recent years for such actions as distributing fliers during the Ferguson, Mo., protests warning that they were poised to use lethal force to protect themselves from demonstrators.
The group also regularly leaflets neighborhoods in cities around the country in an effort to recruit more members. And three of its members were charged in Florida in 2015 with plotting to kill a black man.
Jacobsen said authorities learned on Friday that Ancona had disappeared and that his car, a 2015 black Ford Fusion, had been located by a U.S. Forest Service employee on Forest Service property near Potosi. He said deputies secured the area and on Saturday he requested assistance from the Missouri Highway Patrol.
“During the investigation, one subject was arrested on an unrelated warrant and two search warrants were executed in Washington County,” Jacobsen said. “Subsequently, a body was discovered on the bank of the Big River near Belgrade, Mo., in southern Washington County … The body was identified as Mr. Ancona, and his family has been notified.”