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Four suspects face charges in connection to death of Black man found in burning ditch

Michael Williams was strangled to death before he was placed in a fiery ditch in Kellogg, Iowa.


Four people have been charged in connection to the death of a Black man who was found in a burning ditch in Kellogg, Iowa.

According to the Iowa Division of Criminal Investigation, suspect Steven Vogel, who was already in police custody for unrelated charges, is currently facing charges of first-degree murder and abuse of a corpse. Remaining suspects Julia Cox, Roy Garner and Cody Johnson were arrested and charged with abuse of a corpse, destruction of evidence and accessory after the fact.

Michael Williams was reportedly strangled to death on Sept. 12. His killers wrapped his body up in cloth, plastic, rope and tape before bringing it to Kellogg, Iowa where his burning body was later discovered by authorities. On Sept. 16, cops found his remains when responding to a call about a fiery roadside ditch. Williams’ death was eventually ruled a homicide.

During a press conference earlier today (Sept. 22), Iowa DCI Special Agent Adam DeCamp said “no evidence has been found to show the acts against Michael Williams were motivated by his race.” However, it is believed the killing “was not a random of act of violence” as Vogel and Williams allegedly knew each other for “years.”

“Our mission from the very beginning and that will continue is to bring justice for Mike and Justice for his family,” Grinnell Police Chief Dennis Reilly said. “I just want to be clear to say: This was not a random act of violence. Those responsible for this heinous act knew each other.”

Williams’ family members have created “Justice for Michael” shirts that incorporate the late victim’s favorite color purple. A GoFundMe campaign has also been created in hopes to help the Williams family cover costs of the burial and the investigation as well as living and transportation expenses for his children.

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