According to Prosecuting Attorney for Dunklin County, Stephen P. Sokoloff, who spoke at a press conference around 1 p.m., Saturday, Shawn Morgan, 43, of Senath has been charged with the felony counts of First Degree Murder, Armed Criminal Action and Tampering with Physical Evidence in connection to the missing child case that has been covered by local and national media since Saturday, August 6, the day little Breeann was reported missing by her family.
Sokoloff, joined by Dunklin County Sheriff Bob Holder, and Senath Chief of Police Omar Karnes, met with members of the press at the Dunklin County Justice Center on Saturday after word got out that a suspect had been taken into custody, earlier that morning. Sokoloff said that it is charged that Morgan caused the death of Rodriguez by suffocating her, but was unable to provide any further details. He was also unable to comment on whether or not Morgan had prior convictions or was a registered sex offender. The prosecutor did confirm that he was a neighbor of the young girl and her family who lives on Ode Johnson Street in Senath. The child was reported missing by her parents who said the preschooler was outside near the front yard of the residence riding bikes with her older brother, age 5. The sibling reportedly went into the residence for a drink and it was later discovered that Breeann was no longer on her pink and purple bicycle. The mother and father began searching for their daughter for around 30 minutes before calling police. Since that time, a group of local volunteers and law enforcement officials, have teamed with the FBI and other specialty search groups in an attempt to locate the missing girl.
The prosecutor, as well as the sheriff and police chief, commented on the outpour of support from the local community, recognizing the efforts of neighbors and friends throughout Dunklin County who tirelessly dedicated themselves to spreading the word about the case, physically scouring the area for the missing child, and aiding the needs of law enforcement involved in the search.
Sokoloff said that Morgan is being held at the Dunklin County Justice Center awaiting a court date that has been set for Tuesday, August 16. Dunklin County Circuit Judge John C. Spielman issued a no bond order in the case against Morgan who will appear in court at approximately 9 a.m., on the charges against him.
The prosecuting attorney did say that at this time in the investigation it is unlikely that anyone else will be charged in connection to the case and that the family has been notified of recent developments. He also added that as search teams conduct their investigation into locating the body of the young girl, any new developments will be released as they become available.
Dunklin County Sheriff Bob Holder said that members of his agency and the Dunklin County Major Case Squad, in addition to the state's Department of Conservation, are presently dragging waters in areas of interest that exist in Dunklin County and searching other territories where Rodriguez's body might be found. He did not elaborate on where the searches are specifically taking place and asked for the community's cooperation so as to not compromise the integrity of the investigation.