COLUMBIA — The ex-boyfriend of a 17-year-old high school senior was charged Saturday with first-degree murder in connection with her stabbing death and is under police guard at a St. Louis hospital recovering from injuries suffered in a car crash.
Jordan Kuykendall, 20, of Columbia is accused of killing Erin Schneider, whose body was discovered Thursday at a house at 237 S. Riebeling St. in Columbia. Schneider died from multiple stab wounds to her upper torso and neck.
Police said Kuykendall and Schneider had been in a "domestic relationship," and that she had gone willingly to the home and hadn't been lured there.
Less than a month before her death, Schneider had taken out an order of protection in Monroe County against Kuykendall. He was ordered to stay away from Schneider and from the restaurant where she worked. On the day of her death, a hearing was set concerning whether to make the order permanent.
"She was a truly innocent victim," said Thomas Coppotelli, deputy commander of the Major Case Squad. "A young, pretty girl who was caught up in a bad situation."
Kuykendall is being treated in an undisclosed hospital for injuries he suffered in a head-on car accident on Illinois 158 just hours before Schneider's body was found.
Coppotelli said it was unknown whether Kuykendall intended to wreck the car in which he was traveling alone or had accidentally crashed.
"We have a ton of tangible evidence," said Coppotelli, who serves as the assistant chief with the Collinsville Police Department. "We have no doubt he is our suspect."
Coppotelli said Kuykendall refused to help police.
"He was totally uncooperative with investigators," he said.
Bail for Kuykendall was set at $1 million, of which $100,000 in cash would have to be posted before he could be released.
Coppotelli said a weapon has been recovered but did not release details about what it was.
Schneider's body was discovered early Thursday afternoon in a house at 237 S. Riebeling St., which is where Kuykendall lived with his brother, Justin Kuykendall, 25, a registered sex offender. Coppotelli said that no other persons are suspected of being involved with Schneider's murder.
Schneider would have been a senior this fall at Columbia High School.
Funeral services for Schneider were being held at 10 a.m. Monday at Quernheim Funeral Home in Waterloo. Burial will be at Kolmer Memorial Cemetery in Waterloo.
Columbia Police Department Chief Joe Edwards praised the Major Case Squad and thanked the community for providing information to investigators.
The Major Case Squad put 25 detectives on the case.
Contact reporter George Pawlaczyk at firstname.lastname@example.org or 618-239-2625.