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Father Charged In Abuse, Incest, Murder

KCUR photo by Dan Verbeck\">
Prosecutor Teresa Hensley files multiple charges against father.


Harrisonville, Mo – A horror of discovery in rural Cass County, Missouri has led to charges that include incest, statutory rape and murder. 47 Year old Danial Morgan Rinehart has been accused of having sexual relations with one of his four daughters, beginning when she was 13 years old. Cass County Prosecuting Attorney Teresa Hensley contends the girl gave birth to four babies, fathered by Rinehart, by the time she was 18, and that three are now dead. Hensley says one of those children is buried in Oklahoma, another baby was stillborn and a third died of neglect before the age of four months.

Court documents say the young mother, Ashley Rinehart told investigators that her third child, identified only as "J.R.", became ill and was never given medical attention and died of apparent pneumonia. The affidavit describes Ashley Rinehart's careful preparation of the little boy for burial, placing him in a box with a blanket, teddy bear and toy car and, with her father, burying the boy in a hole in the dirt floor of a garage.

Hensley has charged Rinehart with one count of felony murder in the second degree, one count of endangering the welfare of a child, one count of statutory rape, two counts of incest and two counts of abandonment of a corpse. In the words of the prosecutor, "I would think that the report of this will be hard for many people to understand and comprehend how this could happen. Why it wasn't reported earlier." It took years for another daughter of Rinehart to make a report of alleged incest. Sheriffs' deputies began searching property where the Rineharts lived after a new owner moved in and found two coolers behind an old motor home. Inside were what appeared to be human remains of two young children.

The prosecutor is asking bond of $500 thousand be set for Danial Rinehart who has entered a plea of not guilty.

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