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By Echo Menges
The Lewis County Sheriff has granted The Edina Sentinel an exclusive interview about the investigation into the shooting of Bill Steffen, which took place sometime between Thursday evening and Friday morning August 15 or 16, 2021, at the Steffen home in a rural area approximately three-miles north of LaBelle.
Sheriff David Parrish responded to questions submitted by the Sentinel on Tuesday morning, September 7, however, Sheriff Parrish is not releasing details about the incident to protect the integrity of the investigation, which is ongoing.
Due to time constraints, Sheriff Parrish was not able to answer all of the questions submitted but we did get through the majority of them. Those questions and answers are listed below:
Q&A with Lewis County Sheriff David Parrish
Q: Are you investigating the death of Mr. Steffen as a homicide or as a suspicious death?
A: Yes. With every death investigation we investigate we treat all of them as a potential homicide. This case has some things that we are investigating as a potential murder or homicide. That has been the case since the beginning of the investigation.
Q: What agencies are investigating? Is the FBI also investigating?
A: We’ve asked for assistance from all kinds of agencies. Even if it was for information sharing or speaking to our partners in surrounding counties and surrounding states. There are a multitude of agencies including the Missouri State Highway Patrol Division of Drug and Crime Control, from the beginning. We also have some evidence that has been sent to crime labs including an FBI lab.
Q: Do you have any suspects?
A: We have not developed any suspects at this point. That’s why we’ve been asking for the public’s assistance. That’s why we’re waiting for the medical examiners report, to give us that type of evidence as well.
Q: What is the preliminary cause of Mr. Steffen’s death? Can you release the type of firearm found and how many times the victim was shot?
A: No. I would rather not get into those types of details. If we do develop a suspect, Echo, we try not to release that type of information. I know (Bill’s son) Greg went to KTVO last Friday and talked to them. I know there’s that issue. I don’t want to get into the details of the investigation like that. Not yet.
Q: Is that to protect the integrity of the investigation?
A: Of course. That doesn’t mean we haven’t talked to other people about it. There’s a difference in having things decided in the court of public opinion. It’s much different in a court of law than it is on social media sites and things like that. There have been a lot of rumors flying about what has happened. That is very common. We only want to investigate solid leads and not get distracted by rumors.
Q: How long will it take to get the forensic reports that you need?
Q: Were you using a helicopter or any aerials to search for any suspect(s) the evening of finding Bill at LaBelle? Why?
A: No, we did not.
Q: Is there a reason that these cases don’t automatically get turned over to the Highway Patrol?
A: When you’re writing a story do you turn it over to someone else? I feel like my deputies have the knowledge and skill to investigate every crime every day. The mechanics of an investigation are the same. We investigate (many types of crimes). A murder investigation is very intense and very difficult to manage but you have the same set of fundamentals. One as the elected sheriff of a county, it’s my responsibility to the people. To hand it over to another agency would be a dereliction of duty.
The Lewis County Sheriff is asking anyone with information about the shooting death of Bill Steffen to contact his office at (573)767-5287. Anonymous tips can be left online at lewiscosheriff.org/crime_tip. Information can also be given to the Troop B MSHP DDCC by calling (660)385-2132.