James V. Cullum, 21, of 105 Fifth St., is scheduled to appear before Judge David Mann in the Scott County Associate Circuit Court, Division 5, today to be formally arraigned on first degree murder and armed criminal action charges.
The discovery of the body of Tishania T. Walker, 20, of Magnolia Street in Sikeston was reported to the Sikeston Department of Public Safety at 11:56 a.m. Sunday by a couple who were fishing in the pond located behind the Kingdom Hall on North Ingram Road.
The body was reportedly found in a culvert which drains into the pond and is located directly behind the house immediately north of the church.
According to Scott County Prosecuting Attorney Paul Boyd's probable cause statement, Cullum committed the class A felony of first degree murder on or about June 5 by stabbing her. The murder charge carries the possible sentence of life in prison.
According to the affidavit by DPS Det. Bobby Sullivan, responding officers found the body of a black female later identified as Walker.
Walker was reported missing on June 16 by a friend and had not been seen since June 2.
Sullivan said investigators were able to develop a lead that Cullum was Walker's ex-boyfriend, that the two had a small child together, and that they had a June 6 court date for an ex parte hearing.
Walker did not show up to the court hearing and Cullum was awarded temporary custody of the child.
Cullum was brought in for an interview. After he was read his Miranda warning, Cullum signed a waiver agreeing to speak with investigators.
"Mr. Cullum told us that he called Ms. Walker on June 5, 2006, and asked her to meet him at Dudley Park so the two could possibly work things out about the child," Sullivan wrote in his affidavit. "Mr. Cullum said that he brought a knife with him to try to scare Ms. Walker into agreeing to leave the child with him. Mr. Cullum said they walked over to the lake just off North Ingram and were sitting on a drain pipe talking. Mr. Cullum said that he pulled the knife out and was going to scare her when the two started fighting."
Cullum said that he cut Walker's throat but she continued to fight back and was screaming, so he knocked her down again after which he started stabbing her in the stomach area. She was lying on her back while being stabbed and knocked Cullum off, he said.
Cullum said that when Walker rolled him off of her, he reached over and stabbed her in the back, after which she stopped moving.
He then reportedly placed Walker inside the drainage pipe, threw the knife into the lake, and left.
The autopsy by forensic pathologists in Farmington is complete, according to Scott County Coroner Scott Amick, but officials are waiting for the results from various tests before a final report is ready.
"There definitely was multiple stab wounds," Amick said, "and the body had been there for quite some time."