• Independence man found dead in home

  • A missing northeast Independence woman has been found safe, but questions remain into her disappearance and husband’s death.

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  • A missing northeast Independence woman has been found safe, but questions remain into her disappearance and husband’s death.
    Police were called to the couple’s house at 18512 Blackhawk Trail at 1:13 p.m. Sunday. Police are not saying who made the call seeking medical help at the house. Ronnie D. Ashworth, 63, was found dead at the house, and his wife, Catherine A. Ashworth, 50, was missing, along with her car.
    Mrs. Ashworth was found Monday afternoon safe and unharmed in Independence. Tom Gentry, public information officer for the Independence Police Department, said the woman was found after a citizen’s call to the police department.
    “We are going to interview her to found out what exactly happened,” he said. “We are not calling anyone a suspect or person of interest. We are just trying to gather information to find out what happened.”
    Independence police are continuing to investigate the death of Ronnie Ashworth. Police are calling his death “suspicious.”
    Police are keeping details of the investigation to a minimum.
    Independence police detectives have leads in the case, said Capt. Ken Bergman, head of the investigations unit.
    Bergman said the department has a “tremendous amount of manpower” involved in the investigation. He said the Ashworths were both living at the home.
    Police are not saying how Ronnie Ashworth died or how long he had been dead.
    Bergman wouldn’t say if their house was ransacked. “But it was enough to tell us it was suspicious,” he said.
    Ryan Layman, who lives next door, didn’t know the couple well because he, his wife and baby, moved in about five months ago. “We exchanged pleasantries every now and then,” Layman said.
    He had never heard commotion from the Ashworths since his family moved in.
    The family came home Sunday night from a trip to the Ozarks only to be greeted by crime scene vans and police detectives combing the property. They got home around 8:30 p.m.
    “I’m pretty concerned, to be honest with you,” Layman said.
    They saw authorities take a body from the home. “It’s pretty disturbing,” Layman said.
    Layman has found the middle-class neighborhood to be kid-friendly and free of crime. Police are awaiting results of an autopsy done by the Jackson County Medical Examiner.
    Police ask anyone with any amount of information in the case to call them at 816-325-7330 or the Crimestoppers hot line at 816-474-TIPS.
    Kelly Evenson and Jeff Martin contributed to this article.
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