WRIGHT CITY, Mo. – After nearly 20 years, a gruesome murder was solved on Wednesday. A Maryland Heights man is facing charges for the dismemberment of a woman in Wright City.
Sources said a recent DNA test connects Mike Clardy to the murder of Deanna Howland. The lingering question in Wright City for years has been who killed a woman and left her at the rest stop.
“It being the rest stop itself was pretty indicative that it wasn’t anybody from around here,” said Brian Stewart. “So, I think it’s more of a happenstance that it was just there then like if there is somebody here that you have to worry about.”
He said the big story shook his hometown.
“The rest station is just a mile from here, just talk of the town. All the adults were talking about it, especially something as horrifying as it was,” Stewart said.
He said everyone remembers the day a woman’s decapitated torso was found. The remains were identified 12 years later as Deanna Howland of Alton. Now, DNA testing is leading police to the possible killer.
“Good on them for finally catching whoever did it,” Stewart said.
Earlier this week, Clardy reportedly admitted to killing Howland and dumping her body. He is facing charges of second-degree murder and abandonment of a corpse. Stewart said even with an arrest, this horrible murder will never be forgotten in Wright City.
“It’s in the back of people’s mind. It was a big thing back then, and you’re sitting around, and people bring it up,” Stewart said. “It’s something to talk about.”