Audrain County authorities now say the mysterious death of a man found outside a burning car may have been a suicide.
Antonio Jefferson was found badly hurt on a rural road southwest of Mexico in December 2017, and the cops at first said they suspected foul play. He would die at a hospital.
Jefferson’s car did crash into a tree, but that apparently did not cause the fire. Medical examiners said neither the crash nor the fire killed Jefferson. It was blood loss from multiple stab wounds. A knife he had bought minutes earlier was found nearby, and only had his DNA on it.
Authorities are trying to get more info on what Jefferson was doing in the minutes before his death. You can call (573 )473-5801 with tips.
See more details from the Audrain Co. Sheriff’s Department below:
- On December 12, 2017, at about 0930 hours, Antonio Jefferson appears in Audrain County Court for a previous, unrelated law violation. His lawyer speaks with him about his case and the possible outcomes of the matter. He leaves the courthouse sometime around 1000 hours.
- Between 1000 hours and 1100 hours, Antonio Jefferson returns home and talks to a family member about his court appearance and the possible outcomes of the matter. He later leaves the home.
- At 1127 hours, Antonio Jefferson arrives at Wal-Mart on South Clark Street. In the surveillance video, he can be seen arriving in the car that is later located on Audrain Road 913 where he is found. It can be clearly seen that he arrives alone. Mr. Jefferson enters Wal-Mart, immediately gets a knife from the kitchen section, walks to the checkout and purchases the knife, speaking with no one but the clerk. The receipt for the purchase is later located in Mr. Jefferson’s pocket.
- At 1131, Mr. Jefferson gets back into the car he arrived in and leaves the parking lot, alone, and travels North on Clark Street.
- At 1203 hours, Audrain County 911 receives a report of a car on fire and a male lying in the roadway on Audrain Road 913.
- It was determined the incident was discovered by a passerby. Based on the passerby’s statement, at the time 911 was called, the car was off the roadway and had a small amount of fire in the engine compartment “in front of the front tires”. The witness saw Mr. Jefferson was on the roadway bleeding heavily, and “thrashing” about, indicating he was alive. A knife, later determined to be an exact match of the description of the knife Mr. Jefferson purchased 30 minutes prior, way lying near him in the roadway.
- Within 5 minutes, a nearby farmer who saw smoke from the car fire, along with the first emergency responder (firefighter) were on the scene as well.
- Lifesaving efforts are made by firefighters and EMS personnel, and Antonio Jefferson is transported to the hospital, where he is pronounced dead.
- Investigation by the MSHP indicated the vehicle left the roadway and hit a tree at “low speed”, and no skid or scuff marks were present to indicate the driver lost control or attempted to correct the vehicle’s path to keep it on the roadway.
- Since the scene was chaotic and confusing, members of the Sheriff’s Office and MSHP requested a K9 from Callaway County and an MSHP aircraft (which was already in the area on another detail) to survey the area for any other personnel who may have been crash victims, assault victims, or suspects. Both of those resources searched the area and located nothing noteworthy.
- An autopsy was conducted, which resulted in finding that Antonio Jefferson died from blood loss via wounds that were consistent with a sharp instrument.
- The vehicle fire was investigated by members of the Missouri State Fire Marshal’s Office and there is no indication the fire was intentionally set, and is possibly a result of the “crash”.
- The knife that was located has been analyzed by the MSHP Crime Lab and only Antonio Jefferson’s DNA was located upon it.
- Several other items of evidence were seized and are currently at the MSHP Crime Lab undergoing analysis.