UPDATE: Charges filed in Lawrence County missing person case turned homicide investigation

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Lawrence County Missouri Sheriff Brad Delay (Photo by KOLOR)

UPDATE: LAWRENCE COUNTY, Mo. — The Lawrence County Sheriff’s Office has charged one person in the death of a missing person.

Ray Sterling Fryling, 54, of Monett has been charged in the death of Coy Cole, 52, of Miller.  Fryling faces the following charges in Cole’s death:

  • 1st-degree murder
  • Armed criminal action
  • Abandonment of corpse
  • Tampering with evidence

LAWRENCE COUNTY, Mo. — The Lawrence County Sheriff’s Office has charged one person in the death of a missing person.

Ray Sterling Fryling, 54, of Monett has been charged in the death of Coy Cole, 52, of Miller.  

Fryling faces the following charges in Cole’s death:

  • 1st-degree murder
  • Armed criminal action
  • Abandonment of corpse
  • Tampering with evidence

Tuesday morning, a search warrant was conducted at a Lawrence County property belonging to Fryling, where they found burned human remains believed to be Cole.

Lawrence County Sheriff Brad DeLay says they cannot confirm that the remains belong to Cole, but they believe that to be the case, and further testing is needed.

“We did find some human remains, but right now those remains cannot be identified. We are conducting an autopsy, sending some of the remains down to different labs to try and find something. While we haven’t identified this as our missing person right now, there is a chance – due to a lot of the leads in the investigation we’ve conducted — this could be it. We just can’t confirm or deny that at this point,” says DeLay.

Sheriff DeLay explains that investigators noticed inconsistencies with Cole’s vehicle, cell phone, and financial records. Upon interviewing some of Cole’s associates in Greene County, they were lead to the property of Fryling.

According to the probable cause statement, investigators contacted Mid-Missouri Bank in Republic, MO where Cole banks. They say Cole had made bank transactions of a withdraw in excess of $70,000 on November 12.

The second suspect confessed to investigators that he was present when Fryling shot Cole in the abdomen at a home in Miller, MO on approximately November 19,  while Cole was seated in a tan chair.

Investigators say the second suspect was seen on security video using Cole’s debit card for financial transactions on November 22. Cole was not present for those transactions.

Early Tuesday morning, authorities executed a search warrant at Frylings’ property and found human remains and parts of a tan chair in a fresh burn pile.

The second suspect who was arrested in this case, to date has not had charges filed against them.

PREVIOUS STORY: LAWRENCE COUNTY, Mo. — A missing person case in Lawrence County is now being investigated as possible homicide.

The Lawrence County Sheriff’s Office got a call about a missing person back on December 1st.

During the investigation, authorities got a tip on the location of possible human remains, which they believe are tied to the case.

With the help of the Greene and Newton County Sheriff’s Offices, detectives and a dive team, possible human remains were found.

The remains were sent off for identification.

Two people are in custody, but no formal charges have been filed.

The identity of the missing person is not yet being released as the investigation continues.

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