COLUMBIA, Mo. (KMIZ)
A woman arrested Thursday on suspicion of murder and armed criminal action is accused of shooting a person in the face in a McDonald's drive-thru.
Prosecutors charged Angelica Benitez, 29, of Moberly, on Friday with second-degree murder and armed criminal action in the death of Marqukis Hayes. She has an initial court hearing set for Thursday afternoon.
Boone County Jail records show Benitez was booked into jail Thursday night. She is being held without bond.
Watch playback of a Columbia Police Department news conference on the case in the player below.
A probable cause statement says Benitez was in a pickup truck Monday afternoon with Hayes and her boyfriend, who was driving, in the drive-thru of the Clark Lane McDonald's when she shot Hayes in the face with a pistol. The statement says Benitez's boyfriend told investigators he did not know why Benitez shot Hayes.
Officers went to the McDonald's next day after Benitez's boyfriend called police, according to the statement. Investigators tied the truck to the scene using surveillance video, according to the statement.
Benitez was with a missing Jefferson City man the last time he was seen in Columbia, according to a Columbia Police Department release on Wednesday. The release said Benitez was a passenger in a truck with 25-year-old Hayes. They were last spotted together in a McDonald's drive-thru.
After the shooting, Benitez and her boyfriend went to the Super 8 motel on Clark Lane, according to the statement. Benitez then drove away in a pickup truck which was later found in Valley Park with a dead body in the back seat, according to the statement. Investigators confirmed the body was that of Hayes, the document says.
Police say Benitez admitted to the shooting and moving the body.
Columbia Police Department Chief Geoff Jones declined to comment Thursday night about the body being found.
CPD Assistant Chief Jeremiah Hunter said at a news conference Friday that Benitez was arrested in Moberly. Lt. Matt Stephens reiterated the ongoing nature of the investigation when asked how Benitez got from the St. Louis area where the truck was found to Moberly.
Jones praised the quick work of investigators and teamwork by multiple law enforcement agencies to make the arrest.
Benitez pleaded guilty to assault in Randolph County in a 2015 incident. She was accused of hitting a woman with a vehicle then stabbing her because she was upset over social media statements. The victim had a broken leg and several lacerations, police said at the time.
Court records show she was put on probation but violated the terms in 2017. A Missouri Department of Corrections spokeswoman said Benitez was in prison from July 2017 to February 2020.
The Department of Corrections spokeswoman said Benitez is out of prison on parole and the state has issued a parole violation warrant.
Police say this is an ongoing investigation and they are still trying to find the motive of the crime.
"Until yesterday to us, it was not a homicide so we now know who the victim is, who they suspect is, we have both of those confirmed so then we start basically rolling backwards trying to figure out what the motive was the relationship all those kind of things so that we can match up and hopefully bring some finalized results in the end of really what happened and not just the final chapter.", said Lt. Matt Stephens.
Law Enforcement ask if anyone has information about this crime to contact the Columbia Police Department at 573.874.7652 or CrimeStoppers at 573.875.TIPS (8477) to remain anonymous.