INDEPENDENCE, Mo. — It’s been two weeks since a 44-year-old woman disappeared after leaving her workplace in Independence.
Now an ex-boyfriend is facing a federal charge as police say he was unwilling to talk to detectives about the situation.
Charles Smith-Howell, 41, is in federal custody on a charge of illegally possessing ammunition. But court documents lay out how federal investigators are really pressing him for more information in the case of a missing woman.
The family of 44-year-old Ebony Duncan reported her missing on Sept. 7. The last time authorities can place her was the day before.
Duncan was leaving work at Sunterra Springs, an Independence senior care facility, when she got into a silver sedan. Surveillance video captured an image of the car.
“[Ebony Duncan] confided in a co-worker that a prior intimate partner or ex-boyfriend was threatening to kill her,” court documents say.
The same court documents show how investigators started connecting dots.
“[Ebony Duncan’s] daughter contacted Smith-Howell on Facebook and asked if he had any information about [Ebony Duncan],” according to court documents.
“The daughter relayed to law enforcement that Smith-Howell said, ‘I saw your mother last night,’ and ‘I’m sorry if something bad happened to her,'” according to court documents.
Soon after, Independence police issued a “stop order” for Smith-Howell on suspicion of kidnapping.
According to court documents, officials traced the silver sedan, which is now missing, back to a current girlfriend of Smith-Howell.
Authorities also found the license plate and title for that car inside Smith-Howell’s car — a discovery they made after a pursuit in Kansas City.
That’s also when police found a loaded gun, according to court documents, leading to the new federal charge.
“There was also a very large black trash bag in the rear of the vehicle that investigators briefly looked inside of to determine [Ebony Duncan] was not inside,” according to court documents.
A spokesperson for Independence Police said they are still searching for Duncan, but they aren’t disclosing where that search centers.
Authorities are also still looking for the silver sedan that Duncan got into when she first went missing. Court documents say the car has been identified as a Chrysler 200.