Joplin murder suspect arrested in Stillwater, Oklahoma - KOAM TV 7

Joplin murder suspect arrested in Stillwater, Oklahoma

Tonya Crawford Tonya Crawford
James Henneha James Henneha

Police in Oklahoma arrest a man who investigators say murdered a Joplin woman last month.  Joplin police had asked for help from Stillwater, Oklahoma authorities in the investigation.

Many details of this investigation have not yet been released.  Either all the details are still being put together so that investigators know the specifics, or detectives aren't yet comfortable about releasing more details.  But police say what's most important is a suspect has been arrested in this murder case.

Joplin police say 38-year-old Tonya Crawford was reported missing on January 22 of this year.  One day later, a landlord and family found her dead in her apartment at 310 West 14th Street.  Police say there's good reason to believe she had been dead for quite a while, since her body was badly decomposed.  A medical examiner said because of the decomposition, there were no obvious signs of injury.

 Police have now arrested 36-year-old James Henneha, who investigators say went to her apartment and strangled her.  Court documents show Henneha with a Joplin address, but he was arrested in Stillwater, Oklahoma after police in Joplin got a credible lead.

"With a new lead, they sent investigators down to Stillwater, Oklahoma.  Then, over the weekend, with that new information they obtained on Friday, they obtained an arrest warrant for Henneha's arrest for first degree murder," says Sergeant Chad Dininger with the Joplin Police Department.

"The information that we got, we believed to be credible.  The investigation unit followed up with the information that we received, which led us to probable cause that he committed first degree murder.  As far as intent, I don't know of intent at this point, I haven't been privy to that information," says Dininger.

Henneha is still in Oklahoma, but plans are to transport him to Jasper County.  His bond has been set at $100,000, plus $25,000 cash.

Crawford was a member of God's Resort in Joplin, and an official with that organization released this statement to us:  

"We’re grateful for this step toward closure for Tonya’s family, the residents of God’s Resort, and the wider neighborhood.  We appreciate the professionalism and dedication of the Joplin Police Department in their pursuit of justice for Tonya and her family. We also thank them for their diligence in making our community a safe place for families to thrive.  Our prayers continue with Tonya’s family. "      


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