LEADWOOD, Mo.—The wife of a Ku Klux Klan leader who was found fatally shot next to a river in eastern Missouri has been jailed on suspicion of first-degree murder.
An official at the St. Francois County Jail told the St. Louis Post-Dispatch Monday that 44-year-old Malissa Ancona is in custody. Charges have not been filed.
A family that was fishing found the body of her husband, 51-year-old Frank Ancona, on Saturday, along the Big River near the tiny town of Belgrade, about 80 miles southwest of St. Louis. An autopsy conducted Sunday revealed he died of a gunshot to the head.
Calls Monday requesting comment from nearby Leadwood police and the St. Francois County Sheriff’s Department, as well as the county prosecutor, were not immediately returned.
— Ksley8 (@KonnieMoments1) February 13, 2017
The Park Hills Daily Journal said investigators placed yellow police tape around Ancona’s home in Leadwood Saturday, believing he was killed there. His safe had been broken into and the contents removed. Several of Ancona’s guns were missing, police told the Daily Journal.
Washington County Sheriff Zach Jacobsen said a U.S. Forest Service employee found Ancona’s car Thursday on a service road near Potosi, about 30 miles from where his body was eventually found. Ancona was reported missing Friday after his employer told Leadwood police that Ancona had not shown up for work for two days.
Investigators found evidence of a burn pile near Ancona’s abandoned vehicle, Jacobsen said.
Prior to the discovery of Ancona’s body, Malissa Ancona told police her husband had left the state on a delivery job. She said he planned to file for divorce when he returned.
Ancona called himself an imperial wizard with the Traditionalist American Knights of the Ku Klux Klan. A website for the group includes an image of Ancona in a white hood and robe standing in front of a burning cross. The website describes the group as a “White Patriotic Christian organization that bases its roots back to the Ku Klux Klan of the early 20th century.”