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South Dakota deputies serve warrants in J.T. McLean case


Deputies found a white cord and rubber straps inside the truck a mid-Missouri murder suspect killed himself on Wednesday night.

The evidence seized through a search warrant could be used in murder investigations in Boone and Miller counties. Deputies there are looking into the deaths of four people, including Allison Abitz, who Boone County deputies say J.T. McLean may have strangled.

The weeks-long search for McLean ended in Dakota Dunes, an unincorporated town in Union County, South Dakota. Law enforcement there found McLean dead in a truck he stole from Pam and Daniel Stephan in Miller County. McLean is considered a suspect in their deaths discovered on Wednesday. McLean already faced charges for the killings of Allison and Jozee Abitz south of Columbia on August 22.

ABC 17 News obtained a copy of a search warrant the Union County Sheriff's Office served on the truck to gather information on the Boone County homicides. The inventory includes a "wooden cross, length of white cord, two rubber straps, mens belt and flashlight all smeared with blood." The inventory also listed a range finding scope, assorted mens clothing and a "green backpack with cans of tuna, crystal orb and toiletries."

Union County Chief Deputy Chris Halm would not comment on the specific pieces of evidence seized but told ABC 17 News that it would be "very useful" for the investigations in Missouri. Halm said the department served a second search warrant on Thursday for items McLean had on him at the time of his death.

Captain Brian Leer with the Boone County Sheriff's Office did not comment on the evidence found in the truck.

Halm's affidavit for a search warrant said deputies found one spent .45-caliber shell casing in the car along with a .45-caliber pistol and ammunition. Sheriff Dan Limoges previously told ABC 17 News that his office would not order an autopsy, confident in their statement that McLean shot himself.

Halm told ABC 17 News that investigators found a handwritten note believed to be from McLean to his family. Halm did not provide details on the note's content but said it did not have any explanation of his actions.

"There was some written correspondence from Mr. McLean, but nothing detailing out why or when or how any of these events transpired," Halm said.

The sheriff's office and several other law enforcement agencies found McLean with the help of the stolen truck's OnStar system. Federal authorities were able to contact the company and get the GPS location of the truck. OnStar also disabled the truck from being used.

Lucas Geisler

Lucas Geisler anchors the 5 p.m. show for ABC 17 News and reports on the latest news around mid-Missouri at 9 and 10 p.m.


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