Second person charged in death of Independence woman

By The Examiner staff

The second person arrested in February in connection with the death of an Independence woman found in a roadside duffel bag has been charged with murder. 

Buchanan County prosecutors have charged Marcus Brooks, 30, with first-degree murder in the death of February 2020 death of 21-year-old Ariel Starcher. She was found dead after a Missouri Department of Transportation employee saw a duffel bag by the side of the road. Starcher had been tied at the arms and legs, a wash cloth had been stuffed in her mouth and binding material had been used at her mouth and nose, according to court documents. 

According to those documents, a witness told investigators Brooks tied up Starcher and stuffed the cloth in her mouth at the hotel just off Interstate 29 south of the airport, then put her body into the duffel bag and dumped it near a rural road in Buchanan County. 

Taylor Stoughton, 22, was charged in February with second-degree murder in the case. Stoughton and Brooks were arrested in Independence.