BRANSON, Mo. (CNN) – A detective believes the man accused of murdering a 6-year-old girl at a motel used snacks to lure her into his motel room.
John P. Roberts, 55, is charged with first-degree murder for the strangulation death of Jasmine Miller.
The probable cause statement used as the basis of the charge says the child’s body was found Saturday night under the bed in the motel room rented by Roberts. The victim and her family were also living at the motel. The statement doesn’t say why police believe Roberts used snacks to get the girl into his room.
Roberts made his first appearance in Taney County associate circuit court on the murder charge on Monday afternoon. The judge set his next court appearance for March 10.
Jasmine disappeared at some point on Saturday night. People in the area said that about 100 people looked for her until her body was found in Roberts’ room.
Jasmine was a kindergarten student at Cedar Ridge Primary School for five days. A school administrator said the school instituted a crisis plan to help other students get through the tragedy.
Before she enrolled in Branson, Jasmine was a student at Horace Mann Elementary School in Springfield, Missouri from Jan. 6 to Feb. 9, according to a Springfield School District spokeswoman.
A fund set up at Branson Bank is a place where people can donate money to help the Miller family with funeral expenses. School officials say they’ll talk to the family to see if they can do anything else to help.
Roberts was charged with another crime just a month ago. He’s charged with breaking into an apartment at Branson Manor Apartments and stealing $70.
The probable cause statement for that second-degree burglary charge says Roberts told police that he needed money for food, and “would arrange to pay the money back.” Police found $23 in Roberts’ wallet, and say he told them that’s what was left from what he stole. At the time, Roberts lived in that apartment complex. He posted a $171 bond to get out of the Taney County jail in Forsyth.
Branson’s police chief Kent Crutcher wouldn’t give an on camera interview, saying he’ll do that when new information is out. But he did answer some of our questions:
Many people wanted to know why an amber alert wasn’t issued. Crutcher says miller didn’t meet the requirements
Why did some people get alerts in Taney County and others didn’t? Crutcher says that’s because alerts are based on the geographical region where the crime or event is taking place
And what about a time line of the crime? Crutcher says he has one, but will not give it out yet.
Copyright 2015 CNN