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Columbia man charged with two counts of murder in case of missing women appears in court Friday

EDITOR'S NOTE: Fox was charged with second-degree murder.


A Columbia man was charged Friday with two counts of murder in the investigation into two missing Columbia women. He had his first court appearance Friday afternoon.

Randall R. Fox was charged with two counts of second-degree murder, two counts of armed criminal action and one count of felony evidence tampering. Police had earlier named Fox as a suspect in the disappearance of Marcia Hess and Sara Fox.

Officers were called Saturday to the 1700 block of Ridgemont Drive as part of a missing persons investigation. Police were trying to find Hess and Fox. They found the two bodies, which are pending identification, a few days later, the Columbia Police Department said in a news release Wednesday.

Sara Fox, 50, and her mother, Hess, 77, were reported missing on Tuesday. They were last seen on May 8.

A probable cause statement says Fox's sister reported Sara Fox and Hess missing. The woman reported the victims' possessions such as purses and cellphones were left in their home and their vehicle was there.

Randall Fox, Sara Fox's ex-husband, was at the home when a Columbia Police Department officer went there last Saturday, according to the probable cause statement. Randall Fox appeared to be the only person home, the statement says.

As an officer looked through the home last weekend, Randall Fox told him the smell in the basement could be caused by sleeping bags in a closet, the probable cause says. Fox told officers that he last saw the missing women May 8 when he went for a walk. They weren't home when he returned, Randall Fox allegedly told officers.

Randall Fox quickly opened the closet door about an inch and shut it during this initial police visit, the statement says, claiming that items would fall out if the closet were opened.

Police found two bodies in the closet when they searched the house on Tuesday, the statement says. Both bodies had traumatic injuries and police found a chemical substance that causes a visible reaction when it comes into contact with blood, the statement says.

A second search the next day turned up 9mm shell casings in the home's entryway and a bedroom doorway, the statement says. Police also found blood that had seeped under the refrigerator.

Randall Fox also mentioned during interrogation that the bodies were in the basement before police had mentioned where they found the remains, according to the statement.

"Our questions are also based around not giving out information," said Columbia Police Spokesperson Jenny Hopper. "There's no reason, if he knew nothing about it, that he should know where they were located."

A motion to deny Randall Fox bond alleges he shot each victim at least once, wrapped their bodies in tarps and hid them in the closet for several days.

Next-door neighbor Kate Smith said her grandchildren didn't feel safe coming to her house while Randall Fox was still at-large. Smith told ABC 17 News Friday that she feels much better knowing he's in jail.

"He disturbed the neighborhood," Smith said. "You know, it's a quiet, nice, quiet neighborhood. But when he was there, it wasn't."

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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