CARTHAGE, MO.--- Investigators from five local police agencies have been called out to investigate a suspicious death in Carthage. It started last night when a Carthage resident called 911. He told dispatchers that he had gone to check on an elderly neighbor, but when he found that neighbor, the 87 year old was on the floor and might be dead.
"As we got into the home, we found that he was deceased and it appeared to be very suspicious in nature. So at that point, we started working it as a suspicious death," said Greg Dagnan, Carthage Police Chief.
Carthage police officers and paramedics found Raymond R. Ritchhart at his home at 1237 Douglas Court. While they won't release details about the scene, it was enough to prompt an autopsy, which took place in Kansas City earlier today.
"It was just simply the nature of the scene, the way it looked. It looked to us like it was suspicious," said Chief Dagnan.
In the meantime, the Tri State Major Case Squad was activated - with detectives arriving to help as early as six o'clock this morning. That effort includes officers from the Jasper and Newton County sheriff's offices, the Missouri State Highway Patrol, and the Carthage and Joplin police departments.
"Certainly, we're talking to a lot of people. We're following up on a lot of leads. So, I certainly wouldn't say no suspects, but we don't have anybody in custody," said Chief Dagnan.
The autopsy was conducted by frontier forensics in Kansas City. Police have not yet released any details, like cause of death.
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