Court Documents Show Steven Vogel Sought Help From Friends and His Mother to Dispose of Body

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Grinnell, Iowa — On Tuesday authorities announced four arrests for the murder of 44-year-old Michael Williams and desecration of his body last week in Jasper County.

Court documents released by authorities after charges show police were led to alleged killer Steven Vogel quickly after he left a trail of witnesses and evidence as he sought help to dispose of Williams’ body. Here is the timeline of events leading up to Tuesday’s arrest announcements according to law enforcement:

September 12th

  • Michael Williams is killed by Steven Vogel. The cause of death is listed as strangulation. Multiple witnesses say Vogel admitted to strangling Williams
  • A family member of Williams says she spoke to him at 2:11 pm that day, the last known contact with him

September 13th

  • Cody Johnson says Vogel showed him Williams’ body hidden in the basement of the home Vogel shares with his mother, Julia Cox, and fellow co-defendant Roy Garner
  • Johnson says he and Vogel attempted to move Williams’ body but were unable to
  • A second unnamed witness says he, too, went to Vogel’s house that day and was shown Williams’ body

September 15th

  • Cody Johnson says he is approached by Vogel again about moving Williams’ body

September 16th

  • Julia Cox says she, her son and Roy Garner dispose of a “large object” wrapped in carpet from their home
  • Cox, Garner and Vogel place Williams’ body in the back of Garner’s truck; Vogel purchases fuel with cash
  • The three of them drive to rural Jasper County; Vogel and Cox remove William’s wrapped-up body from the bed of Garner’s truck and throw it into a ditch
  • Cox says the smell from the carpet “was making her sick”
  • Vogel is dropped off by Garner at his sister’s apartment in Grinnell; Cox and Garner drive to rural Tama County to dispose of trash including plywood, carpet, bleach bottles, rubber gloves, plastic, socks and a receipt with Vogel’s name on it
  • At 4:15 pm witnesses report seeing a green truck driving on the wrong side of the road near Kellogg
  • At 4:30 pm witnesses report seeing a fire burning in a ditch in rural Jasper County
  • At 4:45 law enforcement and fire fighter arrive at the scene of ditch fire; Williams’ body is recovered once the flames are doused

September 17th

  • Two witnesses come forward to identify Steven Vogel as Williams’ killer
  • Police interview Roy Garner and Julia Cox for the first time

Steven Vogel is charged with First Degree Murder and Abuse of a Corpse.
Julia Cox and Roy Garner are charged with Abuse of a Corpse, Accessory After the Fact and two counts of Obstructing Prosecution.
Cody Johnson is charged with Abuse of a Corpse and Accessory After the Fact.
All four are in police custody.

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