Fifth murder suspect arrested

News

September 12, 2016 - 12:00 AM

Jessica Epting, one of five suspects accused of murdering Iolan Shawn Cook, was taken into custody Friday in Topeka.
Iola Police Chief Jared Warner said Topeka police arrested Epting shortly after 6 p.m. Friday. They were working off of a tip gleaned by Iola police detectives, Warner said.
“We passed the tip on to them, and they were able to do some surveillance, and spotted her,” Warner said.
Epting has been held in Shawnee County since then. Warner said an Iola officer was headed to Topeka today to transport Epting back to Allen County.
Epting, 32, Mound City, was the last of the five to be arrested.
She, Amber Boeken, Joshua Knapp, James Myers and Rhonda Jackson all face first-degree murder charges related to Cook’s death March 13.
All are being held on $1 million bond.
The other four previously have appeared in Allen County Magistrate Court. A preliminary hearing for Jackson was scheduled for Dec. 2. Preliminary hearings for the others have not yet been scheduled.

COOK, 33, was last seen by relatives on March 13. He lived with his aunt, Becky Reaves, in the 400 block of South Kentucky Street.
When relatives did not hear from him over the next few days, they reported him missing March 17.
A flurry of activity by Iola police, Allen County sheriff’s deputies and the Kansas Bureau of Investigation followed, with the execution of search warrants in Iola and Gas.
Boeken was arrested March 21 in Iola on unrelated drug charges; Knapp was arrested March 24 in Linn County, also on unrelated charges.
Searchers found Cook’s body April 3 along the banks of the Neosho River, near the Woodson-Coffey county line. An autopsy indicated he had been stabbed.
Allen County Attorney Jerry Hathaway filed first-degree murder charges against Boeken and Knapp April 28, and against Jackson, Myers and Epting on July 28, when Jackson and Myers were taken into custody.

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