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A copperhead snake. (Tim Johnson/The Herald-Dispatch via AP)

(Nixa) (AP) – A 37-year-old southwest Missouri man is dead after being bitten on both legs by a venomous snake after he waded into the James River.

The Springfield News-Leader reports Gilbert De Leon and his girlfriend were at the Delaware Access southwest of Nixa on Friday afternoon when he waded into the river and felt himself being bitten.

Christian County Coroner Brad Cole says De Leon ignored his girlfriend’s pleas to go to a hospital and instead went to his Nixa home. The woman woke up Saturday morning and found him dead.

Cole says lab tests will take about eight weeks to get back, but he sees no signs the man died of anything other than snake bites.

Cole says it’s the first possible snake bite death he has ever seen.

Note: The Associated Press ran a previously published story in place of this one. We apologize for the error.



(West Plains) – A West Plains woman faces arson charges after she reportedly set two fires at a West Plains church that was severely damaged by fire a year ago, as well as fires in two area dumpsters.

53-year-old Kathy Graves was arrested just after 11:30 PM Sunday at St. Mary’s Catholic Church, 1551 Bill Virdon Blvd., in West Plains. Court documents in the case state that Graves admitted to starting two fires at the church, as well as two fires that were found in area dumpsters earlier in the week. At report time, she was held on two counts of arson and one count of knowingly burning.

Police responded to a dumpster fire behind St. Mary’s Catholic Church, 1551 Bill Virdon Blvd. in West Plains, on Thursday night just before midnight. Police say that around 7:20 PM Friday, a rock was used to break a window at the church, and a fire was started, which caused heat and smoke damage to the building. Later that evening, a dumpster fire was spotted off of Thayer Ave. and was quickly put out by the police officer who found it.

Police say Graves was interviewed about the fire on Friday, however, she told them that she hadn’t seen anyone near the building.

On Saturday, police and firefighters responded to another fire call at the church, which resulted in more smoke and heat damage to the building. After the fire activity Saturday, three police officers were assigned to watch the church.

Graves was arrested Sunday night after police say she was observed breaking another window and attempting to start another fire. She reportedly told police during an interview after her arrest that she set the fires at the church as well as the ones found in the dumpsters. Kathy reportedly told police that she wanted attention from her husband, and that she was upset with the church because they drink beer.

You may recall that a fire in June 2014 destroyed the St. Mary’s rectory building, which is currently in the process of being rebuilt. The person convicted in that case, 21-year-old Reland Littleshield of West Plains, was convicted of arson in April and sentenced to five years in prison.

(Springfield) – The National Weather Service says a tornado touched down in Ozark County Sunday afternoon.

A National Weather Service storm survey states the EF-1 tornado touched down about 2 miles west of Theodosia around 6 PM Sunday afternoon, and tracked north northeast for roughly 4.5 miles before lifting about 2.5 miles east of Longrun.

The tornado caused minor damage to a mobile home and damaged or destroyed three barns, along with uprooting or snapping several hundred trees. The tornado’s path was about 200 yards wide.

Mamimum winds associated with the tornado were estimated to be up to 95 mph.

(Baxter County Sheriff’s Office)

(Yellville) – A Yellville man faces sexual assault charges after he allegedly had sex with an underage girl.

26-year-old Charles Campbell Jr faces a felony count of first degree sexual assault, and was held at report time on $100,000 bond.

The Baxter County Sheriff’s Office states that a joint investigation with the Arkansas State Police was started on May 20, after investigators with the sheriff’s office received information that Campbell had been engaging in deviant sexual activity with a female juvenile. After further investigation, Campbell was interviewed by investigators and allegedly confessed to the allegations.

Campbell is scheduled to appear in court May 28.



(Sikeston) – A temporary bridge over Sinking Creek in Shannon County is now open to traffic.

Previously, the Route 19 bridge over Sinking Creek was reduced to one lane with a weight restriction of 20 tons.

MoDOT officials say that the temporary structure will allow heavy truck traffic to avoid lengthy detours, and the bypass will remain in place until funding for construction of a new bridge becomes available.

For more information, please contact MoDOT’s Customer Service Center toll-free at 1-888-ASK-MODOT (275-6636).

(West Plains) – A West Plains resident suffered moderate injuries Saturday morning after the vehicle he was driving ran off-road and hit a tree.

The accident happened at 2:30 AM on County Road 9110, about 4 miles east of West Plains. 25-year-old Casey Ledbetter was taken to Ozarks Medical Center in West Plains by ambulance.

A Highway Patrol report states that Ledbetter was intoxicated at the time of the accident.



(West Plains) – A sewing demonstration has been announced for this year’s Old-Time Music, Ozark Heritage Festival.

This year, Judy Jo Protiva, co-owner of Peace Valley Poultry, will be demonstrating treadle sewing machine use on the mezzanine of the West Plains Civic Center from 12-3 PM Friday and Saturday, June 19-20. Judy Jo is a wife, mother, and grandmother, who started using treadle sewing machines in the early 1980s.

A treadle is a part of a machine which is operated by the foot to produce reciprocating or rotary motion in a machine such as a sewing machine, weaving loom, grinder, powering water pumps, or to turn wood lathes, to name a few. They allow human power of machinery without the need for electricity. Many of the early sewing machines were powered by a treadle mechanism. The treadle was operated by pressing down on it with a foot, or both feet, to cause a rocking movement. This movement spins a large wheel on the treadle frame, connected by a thin leather belt to smaller driving wheels on the sewing machine.

The Old Time Music, Ozark Heritage Festival will be held June 19-20 in downtown West Plains, including in and around the West Plains Civic Center. The festival celebrates the distinctive culture of the Ozarks Highlands. Admission to all activities is free.

For more information on the festival e-mail, visit the website at www.oldtimemusic​.​org.

(West Plains) – Howell County continues to get ready for work on the Creamery Road bridge near West Plains, according to northern Howell County commissioner Bill Lovelace:

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The bridge project is partially paid for with federal money. The county’s portion of the bill was approved when the county budget for the year was approved in January.

Kevin Nosser (St. Louis County)

Kevin Nosser (Lawrence Co. Sheriff’s Office)

(Springfield) (AP) – The Lawrence County Sheriff’s Office says a St. Louis area man is being held on $1 million bond after authorities say he was found with a 12-year-old southwest Missouri girl who had been missing since Friday.

The Springfield News-Leader reports that 47-year-old Kevin Nosser is in custody in the St. Louis area and faces kidnapping charges.

The child was reported missing Friday afternoon and was found alive in St. Louis about 24 hours later.

The Missouri State Highway Patrol said earlier that an Amber Alert was not issued for the child because it did not meet the appropriate criteria.

(Washington) – US Senator Claire McCaskill recently gave her thoughts on President Barack Obama’s cancellation of a program that gives military-like equipment to local police jurisdictions. She says that the entire program hasn’t been scrapped, but rather it has been refined:

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Grenade launchers, bayonets, tracked armored vehicles, weaponized aircraft and vehicles, firearms and ammunition of .50-caliber or higher will no longer be provided to state and local police agencies by the federal government under Obama’s order. Obama ended the military equipment transfer program on Monday, May 18.