NEW MADRID - The final piece to a puzzle nagging at law enforcement is in place and the death of a New Madrid man is solved.
Robert L. Burnes, 24, of Marston was arrested at 11:37 a.m. Thursday and following questioning by officers made a video confession relating to the death of Claude Delaney Minner. Minner was struck and killed in a hit-and-
run accident on Dec. 3, 2003.
According to Missouri Highway Patrol Lt. Jim McNiell, Burnes became a suspect in the case a year ago when a reward was posted seeking information about the accident. When Burnes was picked up Thursday on an unrelated charge he confessed he was driving the black extended-cab truck which fatally struck and killed Minner, who had been involved in an accident while riding his bicycle on Highway U.
The driver of the first vehicle which had struck Minner had stopped as had another vehicle. An autopsy determined Minner had died from injuries caused when he was struck by the extended cab truck, which had left the scene.
Burnes is charged in New Madrid County with the Class D felony of leaving the scene of a motor vehicle accident with bond set at $25,000. He is scheduled to return to Division II of New Madrid County Court on Monday.
The case was one which McNiell said he and other officers had spent numerous hours working to solve.
"It is one of those I have worked on three years now," he said. "I wanted to solve this for the family and to give them some closure."
McNiell praised the efforts of the many officers involved in the case including those with the New Madrid County Sheriff's Department, SEMO Drug Task Force and the Missouri State Highway Patrol Division of Drug and Crime Control.
He described their efforts as "good police work and a determination not to give up. This is the last piece of the puzzle to fall into place."