Clay Waller charged with murder

James Clay Waller
James Clay Waller
Jacque Waller
Jacque Waller

JACKSON, MO (KFVS) - Clay Waller has been charged with murder and tampering with evidence.

Waller, 41, is charged with first degree murder and two counts of tampering with evidence in connection with his wife, Jacque Waller, according to Cape Girardeau County Prosecutor Morley Swingle.

Jacque Waller has been missing since June 1, 2011.  Her body has not been found.  She was 39 at the time of her disappearance.  Jacque and Clay had 5-year-old triplets at the time of her disappearance.

Clay and Jacque were going through the process of divorce.  According to court documents, Clay Waller signed documents to start the divorce process, but would not leave them with his lawyer.  He encouraged her to do the same, according to court documents.

Jacque had talked to her sister over the phone around 3:50 p.m. on June 1 and told her she was going to pick up her son from Clay's home and return "straight home."  She then talked to her boyfriend on the phone around 3:56 p.m. and told him she was picking up her son and would return home.

According to court documents, Clay's girlfriend told police she and Clay were supposed to have dinner together with his son and one of her children, but he met her at a local business parking lot and indicated to her he would not be having dinner with them.  He later asked her to keep his son overnight at her home, which she had never done before with Clay not there also.

The homeowner and a neighbor told police they saw Jacque's Honda Pilot at Clay's home and later saw Clay leave in his truck pulling a boat.

On Monday, June 6, investigators found blood splatter on the walls of a darkened hallway.  It did appear an attempt had been made to clean the walls, according to court documents.  The DNA profile of the blood from the hallway was the same DNA profile as Jacque.

On June 8, investigators searched a crawl space and found broken spider webs and it appeared the dust on the floor of the crawl space had been disturbed.

Investigators found a large amount of green carpet cut into several pieces in the crawl space.  Areas of the carpet had apparent blood stains and blood pooling was evidence on the carpet.  The blood matched the DNA of Jacque's.

Clay told investigators Jacque's nose had started bleeding while in the house and she tripped on the green carpet as she ran to clean it up.

Clay told investigators he had removed the carpet from the hallway because he did not want the owner of the home to find it and think something bad happened, according to court documents.

Clay then told police after Jacque was cleaned up, they began to argue about financial issues.  He said he became angry and threw her keys into a tree.  She told him she would walk to a friend's house and he watched her walk away.  He said she had her purse with her when she left.  He then told investigators he got a broom handle to get the keys from the tree and put them on the windshield of her vehicle.

According to court documents, Clay then said he left the house, but did not take his cell phone with him.  He said over the next few hours, he drove around the Cape Girardeau area and at time would leave his truck to use the bathroom in wooded areas.  He also told police he would park roadside to read or work on crossword puzzles or work on the boat that was attached to his truck.

Jacque's laptop was recovered and police found a diary in which she detailed alleged threats from Clay threatening to kill her if she left him, according to court documents.

A Missouri Department of Transportation worker found a camera bag in a ravine on Nov. 3, 2011 in a ravine on the southbound side of Interstate 55.  That is across from where Jacque's Honda Pilot was found abandoned on June 2.

The last phone calls to come from Jacque's cell phones were at 6:02 p.m. to a co-worker and 6:03 p.m. on June 1 to Clay's cell phone.  Both were missed calls.

The area had recently been mowed.  Jacque's purse, parts of cell phones, her driver's license, credit cards and other items thought to be from Jacque's purse were found.

Court documents say Clay was "largely uncooperative, and at times, intentionally obstructive to the investigation by concealing/destroying suspect evidence, planting false evidence and deliberately misleading officer in their effort to locate his wife."

Waller is currently in a Louisiana prison.  He was sentenced to five years behind bars in federal court after pleading guilty to threatening his sister in law on the website Topix last year.

Jacque Waller's parents say there is a bit of relief in knowing that charges have been brought against Clay Waller and they are looking for forward to getting justice for Jacque.

"The whole thing is going to come out, we want it all to come out the good the bad and the ugly," said Stan Rawson, Jacque's father. "Let the people judge then."

Jacque Waller's mom, Ruby Rawson, said she has total faith that justice will prevail.

"We've trusted in God, and we pray," said Ruby Rawson. "We have so many people praying for us and we know we'll get an answer."

Cape Girardeau County Prosecutor Morley Swingle says they will not be seeking the death penalty in this case. Missouri statute states prosecutors can only seek the death penalty if one of 17 aggravating factors are proven such as the defendant torturing the victim or a prior murder conviction.

Swingle enters new territory on this case, as this is the first time his office has charged a person with murder without a body being found.

"It's not the first case for Missouri though," said Swingle.

Swingle said he expected Waller to be brought from the Louisiana prison back to Cape Girardeau County to face his first court appearance likely in the next 45-60 days.

"At this point it's full steam ahead and we're going forward to get justice for Jacque Waller," said Swingle.

Clay Waller is still being represented at this time by attorney Scott Reynolds. Reynolds would not comment on the new charges as he said he had yet to discuss them with his client.

Meanwhile, friends and volunteers who spent countless hours searching for Waller are react to the news.

"We have not covered 4000 acre and counting," said Bob Sherill. "We won't stop until we find her."

Sherill hopes if someone has information they will come forward.

"We are getting close, the areas we've searched recently and plan to search are much more targeted than the places early on."

Friends like Blye Galemore took part in many of those searches. She remembers talking to Jacque about starting a new life.

"She was such a happy person," said Galemore. "I don't think anybody loved her children more than Jacque."

Galemore says she feels the wheels of justice are turning.

"I know we don't have a body but I am confident in our prosecutors and confident in our law enforcement. I've love to be able to put her to rest, and give her family closure," Galemore said.

Meanwhile, former co-workers say the news has everybody talking. Beth Langston worked with Jacque Waller at Blue Cross Blue Shield.

"Those who knew her miss her," said Langston. "She was a light for me. She told me to focus on the things I can change and not worry about the rest. I feel for her children who have lost a mother and a father. I hope that if he knows where to find her he will tell us where she is."

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