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Khighla Parks on her horse

Khighla Parks — whose body was found Sept. 30 in Truman Lake after having been missing from her home in Willard, Mo., since Sept. 20

Anthony Balbirnie

Anthony Balbirnie (Photo courtesy of Benton County Sheriff’s office)

Update: Balbirnie pleads not guilty. Hearing scheduled Oct. 16.
Warsaw, Mo. — Benton County Sheriff Rick Fajen told the Hill ’n Holler Review that he had just returned to Benton County with Anthony James Balbirnie early this afternoon after extraditing him from Greene County in Springfield where he has been held since his arrest Oct.8 as a suspect in the murder of 15-year-old Khighla Parks of Willard, Mo.
Fajen said Balbirnie, 47, is being held at the Benton County Jail on $150,000 bond charged with abandonment of a corpse.
In an arraignment hearing here today Balbirnie pleaded not guilty and asked that a public defender be appointed. Karen C. Woodley is prosecuting attorney. Assistant Public Defender Jill Porter of Bolivar has since been named to represent Balbirnie.
Benton County Associate Judge Mark B. Pilley has since scheduled an appearance hearing for 9 a.m. Tuesday, Oct. 16.
In conjunction with the warrant order, Judge Pilley earlier ordered no contact with Khighla’s family or any co-defendant witness as well as random drug testing.
Khighla Parks’ body was found here on Sept. 30 in Truman Lake after police were notified of her body by fishermen. Fajen said he was there when the body was brought up, and she apparently had been in the water two to ten days. He said the autopsy conducted by Missouri State Highway Patrol pathologists on Oct. 1 ruled it a homicide. Fajen said he could not comment on the report that a witness had seen Balbirnie put a body in the trunk of his car
The probable cause document filed with Balbirnie’s arrest, however, details a witness who states that she saw Balbirnie wrap and bind the body and load it into the trunk of a gold Pontiac Grand Am at her residence and take off saying he was going to Warsaw. The unidentified witness said she had an on again off again intimate relationship with Balbirnie.
The Benton County Sheriff said that Dallas County is handling the murder investigation. The 15-year-old girl who apparently walked away from her home in Willard on Sept. 20 was reportedly later seen at a house in Buffalo. The Dallas County Sheriff today issued a statement seeking two more persons of interest in the Parks murder investigation. They are Desiree L. Siddens, 24, and Larry L. Warner, 38. (See photos below.) Anyone with information on these two persons or anything else regarding the case are asked to contact the Dallas County Sheriff’s Office at (417) 345-8207. This is the hot line and tips can be anonymous.

Balbirnie’s Facebook photo

Balbirnie , a suspected drug dealer with past drug convictions was a Facebook friend of the 15-year-old victim. She was one of 56 of his Facebook friends, 34 of whom were young women. On his Facebook page Balbirnie describes himself as “outgoing and energetic and likes to take long walks in the woods.”
Balbirnie is among Siddens’ 206 Facebook friends.

To view the Benton County probable cause documents, click HERE.

Visitation for Khighla’s family is scheduled 6-8 p.m. Thursday at Klinger-Cope Family Funeral Home at White Chapel in Springfield. Services will be held 2 p.m. Friday at Clear Creek Baptist Church in Springfield.
To view the obituary, click HERE.
— Caroll Lucas with assistance from Jim Peebles and Howard Elliott
©2012 Hill ’n Holler Review

Desiree Siddens and Larry Warner

The Dallas County Sheriff’s Department is seeking two “persons of interest,” Desiree Siddens, left, and Larry Warner. (Photos from Dallas County Sheriff’s Office)

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