PLATTE COUNTY, Mo. — A Kansas City man who murdered his roommate in Jackson County and then dumped the body in Platte County was sentenced to 28 years in prison following his guilty plea on Nov. 16.
William M. Bell, 29, admitted he shot and killed Conrado Mendez, Jr. in March 2020.
“Sadly, nothing will bring Conrado Mendez back, but it’s good that his killer did not succeed in covering up his crimes. Thanks to the keen eyes of a levee district employee combined with the excellent work of the Riverside Police Department and the Kansas City Metro Squad, this murderer has been brought to justice,” Platte County Prosecuting Attorney Eric Zahnd said.
On April 9, 2020, an employee of the Riverside/Quindaro Levee District was mowing in a remote area of the 4300 block of NW Tullison Road when he saw a body located under a wooden footbridge.
The Riverside Police Department responded to the scene where they found the body wrapped in plastic.
Mendez was ultimately identified as the victim. An autopsy revealed that he died from multiple gunshot wounds.
Because there was no immediate suspect and few leads, the Kansas City Metro Squad was activated.
Mendez’s body was wrapped in plastic used to ship a twin-size mattress box spring. Investigators traced the label on the plastic to a furniture dealer, who gave them a list of people who had recently purchased that particular model of box spring.
Investigators eventually narrowed their search to a home on East 12th Street in Jackson County, which was occupied by Bell, Mendez and another man.
When investigators executed a search warrant at that residence, they found items consistent with items located at the scene where Mendez’s body was found.
DNA from a pair of black nitrile gloves recovered from the crime scene showed Bell and Mendez as major contributors. Also, surveillance video from a location near the place where Mendez’s body was found showed a 1983 Chevrolet Celebrity stopping at the location on March 30. Bell owned a 1983 Chevrolet Celebrity.
Bell then attempted to pawn a Taurus 9mm handgun shortly after the murder.
Bell was sentenced to 25 years in prison for second-degree murder and three years on additional counts of armed criminal action and abandoning a corpse.
The armed criminal action count must run consecutively to the murder sentence, resulting in a 28-year sentence. Bell must serve at least 85% of the murder sentence before becoming eligible for parole.
“For whatever reason, this defendant thought a remote part of Platte County would be a good dumping ground for someone he killed elsewhere. He was wrong, and he’ll now pay a heavy price for his crimes,” Zahnd said.