Suspects in Sherry Arnold kidnapping to make court appearance on Tuesday

2012-02-27T16:00:00Z 2014-08-25T14:46:46Z Suspects in Sherry Arnold kidnapping to make court appearance on TuesdayGazette Staff The Billings Gazette
February 27, 2012 4:00 pm  • 

Two men suspected in the disappearance of Sidney teacher Sherry Arnold are scheduled to appear in Richland County District Court on Tuesday.

Michael Keith Spell, 22, and Lester Van Waters, 47, both of Parachute, Colo., were extradited from Williston, N.D., on Feb. 14, and are being held at the Richland County jail on suspicion of aggravated kidnapping.

They are scheduled to be arraigned on Tuesday afternoon.

The search continues for Arnold's body.

According to court documents filed Feb. 17 in Richland County, Arnold, missing since Jan. 7, was choked to death and is likely to be buried in a remote area near Williston, N.D. Her body has not been found.

The court documents outlined the alleged confession of Spell, and describe a crack-fueled, seemingly random abduction of Arnold.

According to the documents, Spell told investigators that he and Waters smoked crack cocaine on a two- or three-day trip to the area from Parachute, Colo., and that Waters began talking about kidnapping and killing a woman.

As they drove through Sidney, they spotted Arnold as she was jogging and Spell confessed to agents that they killed her, the affidavit states.

"Spell said Waters got into the back seat with the female and 'choked her out,'" the affidavit states.

After getting money at a Sidney grocery store, they drove to Williston with the woman dead under a blanket and threw her clothes into a Dumpster at a truck stop there that night before leaving the body in a rural area outside of town, the charging documents state.

Four days after Arnold's disappearance, a tipster reported that a Colorado woman named April Cruz claiming to be Spell's girlfriend said he confessed to her that he and Waters had been smoking crack cocaine and driving around when they picked up a woman along the road, killed her and then buried her body, according to the affidavit.

On Jan. 12, she allegedly confirmed that information to an agent with the Federal Bureau of Investigation.

Officers in Williston detained Waters later that day. Early the next morning, officers in Rapid City, S.D., picked up Spell, who had hitchhiked there because he was afraid of Waters, according to court documents.

Her disappearance resulted in several massive searches by hundreds of people across the Sidney and Williston areas.

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