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Body of girl, 5, to be sent to aunt for burial

February 06, 2001|By MARCY MISNER, Staff Writer

Remains thought to be those of a girl killed in Missouri seven years ago apparently because she couldn't recite her alphabet will be sent to her aunt in Missouri for burial.

The remains, thought to be those of Angel Hart, 5, of Kansas City, Mo., were found Saturday near Winterhaven by visitors on a nature walk.

Gary Christian of Kansas City pleaded guilty to second-degree murder and is serving life in a Missouri state prison for Angel's 1993 murder.

As part of the plea agreement, Christian agreed in 1995 to show investigators where he had dumped Angel's remains, which had been encased in a Rubbermaid container, then concrete, in Missouri, said Kansas City, Mo., Police Department Capt. Rick McLaughlin.

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McLaughlin said Christian could not recall exactly where he dumped the concrete block but came within a mile of the location.

Although an extensive search was conducted of the general area, the girl's body wasn't found until Saturday afternoon near Araz Road about half a mile west of Quick Road. A wildfire last year cleared brush from the area and partially destroyed the concrete block and container, McLaughlin said.

Kansas City investigators think Angel was murdered Feb. 24, 1993, in a Kansas City motel, where she was living with her mother, Angela Melton, her four siblings and Christian. Christian was the boyfriend of Melton.

McLaughlin said police think Christian became angry when Angel could not recite the alphabet. He struck her, then plunged her into a tub of water, holding her head underwater until she drowned.

At some point he entombed her body in the container and concrete, then loaded it, the other children and Melton into their car and moved to California.

McLaughlin said Christian dumped the body near the Araz Road location and continued on to El Cajon.

Investigators became aware something was amiss when Melton tried to apply for aid in El Cajon claiming only four children. When child welfare officials checked Missouri records, they found Melton had five children.

"When California and Jackson County (Missouri) authorities determined they were one child short, and they had no reasonable explanation, police here began investigating," McLaughlin said.

"It came to (the Kansas City department's) attention Oct. 28, 1993, after they had moved to California," McLauglin explained.

McLauglin said the investigator in the case said the girl's aunt will take care of burying the body.

McLaughlin said he thinks Melton moved back to Kansas City but he did not know where the other children in the family are. Melton was not charged in the murder.

Staff Writer Marcy Misner can be reached at 337-3441.

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