BETHANY, Mo. -- A rural Missouri man is in jail, accused of torching his mobile home and killing his young son inside in a crime that has shocked and saddened one small community about 90 miles northeast of Kansas City.
Tony King, 28, of Bethany, Mo., is charged with first degree murder, arson and felony child abuse in connection with the January 11 death of his 7-year-old son Jeremiah Lamm, who firefighters found dead in his bedroom in the charred trailer. He is being held on a $250,000 bond.
According to police, King and his son's mother had separated years ago, and he had custody of the boy. Lamm was a first grader at South Harrison Elementary School.
The shocking crime has hit the small town of approximately 3,000 hard.
"I can't imagine harming a hair on a kid's head, let alone to that extreme," said Ciji McQuinn of Bethany, a friend of King's soon-to-be ex-wife. She attended Jeremiah Lamms' funeral on Monday.
"I cried at the funeral, but I was trying to be strong for my friend," said McQuinn. "It was hard knowing that it wasn't an accident, and that he lost his life that tragically."
Another Bethany resident, Jason Findlay, says that he'd like to spend an hour in a cage with King.
"You know, there are people in this world that can't have any kids, and this guy went and did this to his own son. I'd like to know why," said Findlay.
"I don't know what they're gonna do to the dad, but I hope justice is served," said another Bethany resident, Trish Nelson.
On Tuesday, King waived his initial court appearance. He is scheduled to return to court next month.