Murder charges filed in connection to St. Francois Co. death

Anthony Caruthers (Source: St. Francois Co. Sheriff's Office)
Anthony Caruthers (Source: St. Francois Co. Sheriff's Office)
Jeremy Reed (Source: St. Francois Co. Sheriff's Office)
Jeremy Reed (Source: St. Francois Co. Sheriff's Office)

ST. FRANCOIS COUNTY, MO (KFVS) - Two  men face charges in connection to the strangulation death of a Farmington man.

According to the St. Francois County Sheriff's office, Anthony Caruthers, 27, of Bonne Terre faces charges of 1st degree murder, armed criminal action, tampering with evidence, and 2nd degree burglary. No bond.

Jeremy Reed, 37, of Farmington faces charges of 2nd degree burglary, and tampering with evidence. His bond was set at $250,000 cash only and GPS monitoring is required.

They will appear in court on Tuesday, November 8.

The men are charged in connection to the death of Michael Vanstavern, 46, who was found dead in the back of a Porsche SUV after a chase on Thursday, Nov. 3.

Coroner Jim Coplin said Vanstavern died of strangulation.

Court documents show that Caruthers was driving Vanstavern's SUV at the time of the chase and subsequent crash.

That chase started when a trooper tried to stop a vehicle for faulty vehicle registration on Highway 67 just south of Desloge.

According to Wheetley, the driver took the Desloge exit and then turned onto Cedar Falls Road and then onto a private road towards a wooded area to try to elude authorities.

It happened before 11 a.m.

The SUV crashed into a tree and that's when the passenger, Reed, jumped out and ran away.

He was caught a short time later and was taken into custody.

Wheetley said Vanstavern's body was found in the back of the vehicle.

Reed told officers that he was just a passenger and offered a description of the person who was actually driving.

Caruthers was arrested a short time later.

During an interview with troopers, Caruthers said he killed Vanstavern on Wed., Nov. 2 by strangling him with a belt.

Caruthers allegedly said he contacted Reed afterward and the pair drove to the victim's apartment in Farmington using Vanstavern's vehicle.

At the apartment, the men took Vanstavern's property and worked to come up with a plan to get rid of his body, according to the probable cause statement.

Caruthers told investigators they bought items to help cover up the murder and clean the crime scene.

During a separate interview, Reed told officers that Caruthers murdered Vanstavern at the Red Cedar Lodge in Bonne Terre.

He said Caruthers asked for help with something, but didn't give details.

The pair went to a room in the hotel where Caruthers lifted up the mattress and showed Reed Vanstavern's body.

That's when Reed said they carried the body to the SUV.

Reed is being held on $250,000 cash only bond. Caruthers is being held without bond.

Both are due in court on Tuesday, Nov. 8.

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