St. Louis County man now faces a murder charge after his wife went missing

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CREVE COEUR, Mo. – St. Louis County prosecutors charged the husband of a missing woman Friday with second-degree murder in connection with her disappearance.

Beau Rothwell, 28, was charged Thursday with tampering with evidence. St. Louis County police are investigating the disappearance of his wife, Jennifer Rothwell, as a homicide, although her body hasn’t been found.

According to law enforcement, a second-degree charge is generally issued for an intentional murder that lacks premeditation.

Court papers show Beau was charged with tampering with physical evidence. Police said they spotted him on surveillance video buying cleaning products, like bleach and gloves. They believe those cleaning products were used in an attempt to clean up a bloody carpet inside the couple’s home in west St. Louis County.

Jennifer Rothwell was reported missing early Tuesday morning and her abandoned car was found later that day.

The probable cause statement said DNA from Jennifer’s mother and father was consistent with blood found in the carpet. It seemed Jennifer’s blood should have similar markings to her parents.

Late Friday afternoon, a detective from St. Louis County was recanvassing the Rothwells’ neighborhood to make sure police did not miss anything earlier.

St. Louis County Prosecuting Attorney Wesley Bell issued the following statement:

“Our thoughts and prayers go out to the family and friends of Jennifer Rothwell. This is a tragic incident and my office will do everything we can to see that justice is served in this case. We have received questions relating to the charge of Murder 2nd degree, as Jennifer Rothwell’s body has yet to be discovered. Based on the investigation by the St. Louis County Police Department, I believe the charges are appropriate and justice compels us to move forward. I want to reiterate the position of this office as it relates to violent offenders: I will utilize every tool we have to aggressively prosecute violent offenders and keep them off the street. Accordingly, at the bond hearing, I instructed our assistant prosecutors to request ‘No Bond.’ The judge granted our request and the defendant will remain in custody as the case proceeds.”

FOX 2’s Derrion Henderson was at Rothwell’s first court appearance at 9 a.m.  Rothwell sat up straight and faced forward during the entire proceeding. He only spoke to say he’d been in St. Louis since 2013 or 2014 when the judge asked. He quickly waved goodbye to the three people who showed up for him in court.

Earlier Friday morning, a judge said Rothwell must hand over his passport and have no contact with the victim’s family. He was then issued a $500,000 cash-only bond during this court hearing. The bond was later revoked when Rothwell was charged with murder.

His next court appearance is at 9 a.m. on January 27, 2020.

Rothwell’s attorney was contacted but he has not yet responded with a comment.

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