Trio of burglars caught, held at gunpoint during Halloween night burglary in Douglas County

Gainesville resident Rhonda Johnson, 51, and former Theodosia resident Kayla Williams, 28, now living in Hartville, were two of the three people reportedly held at gunpoint by a resident when they were caught burglarizing his remote Douglas County residence on Halloween night. 

The pair, along with a third suspect, 20-year-old Carter Cantrell of Marshfield, were arrested and have been charged in connection with the crime. 

“[We’re] very appreciative of the assistance provided by the caretaker in holding the subjects on scene until deputy Nathan Long arrived,” Douglas County Sheriff Chris DeGase posted on the sheriff’s department Facebook page after the arrest. He cited “community-awareness, such as this” as “one of several incidents [when] the public had assisted in the arrest of the suspect.”


Caught in the act

According to DeGase, a dispatcher in his office received a call at 6:38 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 31, from a man who was leasing a residence near U Highway and County Road 117, a rural area southeast of Mansfield. 

The caller reportedly told the dispatcher he had caught three people, who appeared to be under the influence of drugs, inside a residence he rents and lives in.

Douglas County Deputy Long responded to the residence and found Johnson, Williams and Cantrell sitting outside in the backyard of the home. After he placed each suspect in handcuffs and read them their Miranda rights, all three reportedly agreed to speak with him. Long wrote in his report that all three suspects admitted to being inside the home. Cantrell and Williams both, during separate interviews, reportedly said they’d arrived in a white Ford truck that was parked at the residence. 


Drugs, scales, baggies, a gun and stolen items

Long reportedly first found a glass pipe in the white Ford truck that Williams and Cantrell arrived in, and he asked Cantrell if there was anything else illegal inside the vehicle. Cantrell told the officer there was not. Williams, however, told the officer she had a pistol inside her purse. 

“While conducting a probable cause search of the vehicle, I located several other items of drug paraphernalia, along with two baggies of a clear crystal substance and ten white pills marked R180,” Long wrote, adding that he’d found those items in a maroon-colored bag that was sitting between the two front seats of the truck.

Long also reportedly found a syringe and a set of scales inside a black case. He wrote in his report that the scale was covered in a white, powdery substance that field-tested for methamphetamine, and there were several small plastic bags of varying colors inside the case as well. 

“There were orange and black bags in the case. I located the same black bags in Ms. Williams’ purse,” Long wrote. “And the same orange bag in Ms. Johnson’s purse.” 

In Williams’ purse, the officer reportedly found a PA-63 pistol, several small black bags, a set of digital scales with the same powdery substance and a check written to Fred Kalhoeferd from Se-Ma-No Electric Cooperative, dated Oct. 29, 2020. 

“I was told he [the man to whom the check was written] was a neighbor on the road and believe the check to be stolen, but I have not been able to make contact with the owner at this time,” Long wrote in the report. 

In the bed of the truck, Long found a record player, an old typewriter and a Coleman cooler that had reportedly been stolen from inside the home. 

After Long searched the truck that Williams and Cantrell told him they’d arrived in, he then spoke with Johnson. She reportedly also told the officer there was nothing illegal in her vehicle, a black Ford Expedition, and gave the officer permission to search it. 

“I located a small zebra print bag with a blue straw with a white substance that field tested positive for methamphetamine. I also found a camo wallet containing her Missouri driver’s license and a clear baggie with a white powder residue in it that field tested positive for methamphetamine,” he wrote. 


Stolen truck, stolen license plate  and four bottles of spray paint 

Long ran the license plates for both vehicles through the Missouri database. 

The license plate on the white Ford truck that Williams and Cantrell arrived in had  been reported as stolen from Hartville, near where Williams lives. A search of the VIN number on the truck itself indicated that it had been reported stolen from Greene County. Long said he then looked closer and realized that the truck had been spray painted. 

Four cans of spray paint were found lying in the floorboard behind the driver’s seat, he wrote. 


Charges and court updates

Rhonda Johnson, 51, of Gainesville, is charged with second-degree burglary, possession of methamphetamine and stealing. 

She is being held on a $15,000 cash or 10 percent corporate surety bond. If she is able to post bond in the future, she will have the following conditions: supervision by Court Probationary Services, twice weekly drug tests, no illegal substances, no weapons and house arrest a court-approved address. 

When she was arraigned Nov. 12 before Associate Judge Elizabeth Bock, a preliminary hearing was set for Dec. 17. 

She is charged as a prior and persistent offender due to the fact that she’s pleaded guilty to two or more felonies in the past, including an Aug. 2, 2016, conviction of stealing a controlled substance and an April 5, 1994, conviction of general stealing. Both prior cases were in Douglas County. Because she is charged as a prior and persistent offender, if convicted, she will be sentenced to a longer term of imprisonment. 

Kayla Williams, 28, of Hartville, is charged with second-degree burglary, tampering with a motor vehicle, possession of methamphetamine, possession of a firearm (a PA-63 pistol), while possessing methamphetamine and stealing. 

She was originally arrested on a $15,000 cash or 10 percent corporate surety bond. She was arraigned Nov. 4, and defense attorney Joshua Brown entered his appearance as her attorney two days later. She reappeared on Nov. 12, and Associate Judge Elizabeth Bock released her on her own recognizance. She is ordered to have no contact with the victim in the case, possess no firearms, no illegal substances, be supervised by Court Probationary Services and be drug tested twice weekly. She is also to have a curfew, meaning she is required to be home from 7 p.m. to 7 a.m. daily. 

Carter Cantrell, 20, of Marshfield, is charged with second-degree burglary, tampering with a motor vehicle, possession of methamphetamine, possession of a firearm while possessing methamphetamine and stealing. He was initially arrested and held on a $15,000 cash or 10 percent surety bond on Nov. 1.

He posted a surety bond on Nov. 4 and was released from jail. He was scheduled to appear in Douglas County Court Nov. 12; however, his bondsman appeared on his behalf and said Cantrell was in Webster County Jail on an unrelated case. The Webster County Jail later provided documentation to confirm Cantrell’s incarceration there. He is scheduled to return to Douglas County Court on Dec. 17. 

Ozark County Times

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