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Police identify MU student found dead in fire pit at north Columbia home


Columbia police have identified the University of Missouri student officers found dead last week in a fire pit behind a house in north Columbia.

Police identified the body as Samuel Michael Clemons, 21, a University of Missouri student originally from Jefferson City. Prosecutors have charged Emma Adams of Columbia with second-degree murder and other felonies in connection with his death.

Columbia Police Department Chief Geoff Jones said in a statement that police will support Clemons' family.

Adams was charged Wednesday after police found Clemons' body smoldering in a fire pit a week ago behind a home on Bentley Court. The investigation started when University of Missouri police officers were called to a dormitory for a wellness check. That call led them to the house.

Police couldn't identify the body because of its condition, police said. CPD thanked "members of the community for coming forward with information on this case" but didn't release any other details pending the filing of charges.

Clemons was a sophomore studying biological sciences, UM System President Mun Choi said in a message to the campus.

"We have been in contact with Samuel's family and are supporting them in any way that we can," Choi wrote.

The investigation started after Clemons' mother called campus police saying she hadn't heard from her child in a couple of days, prompting the welfare check, according to a probable cause statement.

Police were led to Bentley Court after tracking down information about an Uber, which Clemons was seen on video entering and which took him to the location, the statement says.

Adams allegedly told police she stabbed the victim in self-defense. Police located blood on a vehicle at the scene, inside the house and in the backyard, the statement says. A cellphone matching the description of the victim's was found immersed in water in a sink and an officer saw part of a missing mattress burning in the fire pit, according to the documents.

Investigators found a bloody folding pocket knife in the kitchen, the statement says.

Adams was in court Tuesday for a bond hearing. Her lawyer waived any sort of bond hearing meant to take place, instead asking to pass this to a preliminary hearing. The preliminary hearing is scheduled for 9 a.m. Monday, Feb. 20. She remains in the Boone County Jail on a $1 million bond.

Students on campus react

MU students on campus are shaken up after learning about Clemons.

"It's a scary time right now," MU student Lea Mitchell said.

Mitchell stays in Hudson Hall, the same dorm as Clemons stayed in.

"He was from the same building that I sleep in, so it's just it's pretty sad," Mitchell said. "It's scary to know that something like this hits, it hit so close to home."

"It's honestly just scary for anyone," said Elizabeth Beisner, who also attends MU.

Michell and Beisner said they are nervous following the University of Idaho murders and Clemons' alleged murder.

"Like with the Idaho stuff, it's definitely just nerve-racking to like, I don't know, just being on campus itself," Beisner said.

"I think with the Idaho murders happening recently, this is just a scary time," Mitchell said.

Despite this, Mitchell said she does feel safe when she is on campus and in her dorm.

Mitchell recommends other students to share their location services on their smartphones with friends and family to "just take that extra step to do what you can to prevent something."

Article Topic Follows: Crime

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Matthew Sanders

Matthew Sanders is the digital content director at ABC 17 News.


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