Friends and Family react to new charges in Ripley County murders

Lloyd and Irene Piatt
Lloyd and Irene Piatt
Bonnie Chase & Ed Atkinson
Bonnie Chase & Ed Atkinson

RIPLEY COUNTY, MO (KFVS) - Family and friends are reacting to recent murder charges filed in a nearly two-year old double homicide case in Ripley County.

Keith Boyles, David Youngblood, and Chantale Youngblood stand accused of killing Loyd and Irene Piatt, and setting their house on fire on June 23, 2010.

The three along with Melissa Youngblood are also accused of killing Ed Atkinson and Bonnie Chase in July of 2010, and setting their house on fire.

"They kept saying be patient, we were and it's finally happened," said Imetta Farrar of the newly filed charges. "It's a relief that we've not been forgotten, but still I know it's going to be a long haul before it's over."

Imetta Farrar still can't come to grips with what happened to her aunt and uncle in-law. It started with a fire at the Piatt's home. Initially it was believed the elderly couple died from the fire.

That's until weeks later another couple, Ed Atkinson and Bonnie Chase, were found shot to death inside a home in Ripley County.

Authorities then unearthed the Piatt's bodies, discovering they too had been shot.

David Youngblood, his daughter Chantale, wife Melissa, and Keith Boyles were all charged in connection with the Atkinson/Chase murders.

Now David Youngblood, Keith Boyles, and Chantale Youngblood have been officially charged with the Piatt's deaths.

Melissa Youngblood was not charged in connection with the Piatt's deaths.

According to the probable cause statement, she was home the night the Piatt's died.

According to the P-C Melissa was questioned about the deaths of Irene and Loyd Piatt. Melissa said they died on June 23, 2010. Melissa said in the report that Chantale Youngblood and Keith Boyles left her house and returned a little before 10:00p.m. on the 23rd of June. Sergeant Stoelting asked Melissa if she heard David talk to Keith about doing something to the Piatt's. Melissa said David asked Keith, "We are going to do this, right?" Sergeant Stoelting asked if David had a reason he wanted Keith to do something to the Piatt's. Melissa said she thought it was because David did not want to take Mrs. Piatt to the doctor in Memphis, TN. Melissa said when Keith and Chantale returned that night, David asked Keith, "is it done". Melissa said Keith said, "Yes" and then Keith took a shower.

Also according to the probable cause statement, Melissa said Chantale did not say anything. Melissa said she asked David what they had done and he would not tell her. Melissa stated a short time later, Linda Mabary (the Piatt's daughter) called and told them the Piatt's house was fully engulfed. Melissa said she knew then what they had done. Melissa further stated she and David left their house and went to the Piatt's house. Melissa said while they were driving to the Piatt's house, she asked David if the Piatts were in the house. Melissa said David would not answer her.

In the probable cause, Sergeant Stoelting questioned Melissa about any statements David had made concerning his involvements in the deaths of the Piatt's. Melissa said she heard David say he ordered the hit and then he had to carry them to the grave. David was pallbearer for both the Piatts. When questioned about who had actually killed the Piatts, Melissa said it had to be Keith. Melissa said Linda Mabary, the Piatt's daughter, stayed with them during the time of the funeral services for the Piatts. Melissa stated David said to her that he wondered what Linda would say if she knew she was sleeping in the murderer's house.

During the course of the investigation, according to court documents, a juvenile female also provided police with information about the murders.

The statement also says that on August 24, 2010 a criminalist at the Missouri State Highway Patrol Crime Laboratory confirmed through a firearms examination that bullets recovered from the Piatt autopsies were fired from the Ruger 9mm pistol seized as evidence from David Youngblood's Ripley County residence. A subsequent forensic exam on both the Ruger and Hi-Point 9mm pistols disclosed DNA that was consistent with the profile generated on David Youngblood.

Wilma Steffel, a friend of the Piatt's, says the recent murder charges are overdue.

"I'd like to see more justice for people like that, but why did it take so long to get it done," said Steffel.

Family members hope closure is near. "We'll be patient because we want justice," said Imetta Farrar.

The next court appearance for the accused is coming up on April 10, 2012 in Ripley County.

The Attorney General's office has been named special prosecutor in this case.

Copyright 2012 KFVS. All rights reserved.

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