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Pott. County deputies recover remains; son arrested in father's death

Kim Morava
The Shawnee News-Star

The Pottawatomie County Sheriff’s Office and medical examiner were working on Tuesday to recover the remains of a man, initially presumed missing, after his son allegedly confessed to shooting and killing his father and setting a fire in a hay field near Wanette.

The investigation is ongoing, but a 30-year-old suspect was in custody Tuesday in connection with his 55-year-old father’s death, said Undersheriff Travis Palmer. Names of those involved weren’t being released pending notification of next of kin, he said. 

Discovery and retrieval of human remains was underway at the scene Tuesday, but events leading up to this investigation started Monday. That’s when Pink and Tribbey firefighters responded to a tractor and hay field on fire, Palmer said, although there was no tractor driver found at the scene.

The tractor operator’s son had apparently been helping bale hay, Palmer said, and had been seen pulling out of the area on another tractor. 

Fire crews extinguished the tractor and hay bale fire, Palmer said, and a search commenced for the tractor operator until about 3:30 a.m. Tuesday, with the Chickasaw Nation helping search the wooded areas on horseback.

Palmer said the son was initially taken into custody for investigative questioning in the case, but allegedly became upset and knocked out the window of a sheriff’s patrol unit, resulting in his arrest on a complaint of destruction of county property.

When deputies questioned the son, Palmer said, he allegedly confessed to shooting his father in the head and then pouring gasoline on the tractor and hay bales before setting it on fire.

Palmer said a specialist in human bones from the Medical Examiner’s office confirmed a presence of remains before the recovery process began. Law enforcement was continuing their work late Tuesday afternoon in an area southwest of SH 102 and Avoca Road, Palmer said.

Investigators search for remains Tuesday at a fire scene near Wanette.

No other information was being released Tuesday, Palmer said, and investigators weren’t yet clear on a possible motive in the case.

Watch for updates.