Murder charges have been filed by prosecutors against the Pleasant Hill parents who have been accused of dumping the body of their infant baby in a bucket encased with cement.
The Cass County Prosecutor’s Office announced second-degree murder charges against Matthew Scroggs, 28, and Krystal Scroggs, 29, Feb. 18.
The couple has also been charged with the abandonment of a corpse and five counts of endangering the welfare of a child in the first degree.
Matthew and Krystal Scroggs were both taken into custody Feb. 20 by police and are currently being held in the Cass County Jail.
Matthew Scroggs was placed into custody in the parking of the Cass County Sheriff's Office by deputies at 9 a.m. Thursday. According to Missouri Case Net, Scroggs appeared in court later in the morning with his lawyer on previous charges.
Krystal Scroggs was apprehended by Pleasant Hill police late Thursday afternoon and booked into jail shortly after 4:30 p.m.
On Nov. 4, Cass County Sheriff’s Office deputies contacted Pleasant Hill Police after they received a report of a possible stolen vehicle and illegal drug activity at the Scroggs’ home, 304 Cline St. The report also made allegations that Krystal Scroggs had given birth to a child in early October who had died, and that Matthew Scroggs had disposed of the baby’s body.
Police drove by the residence at 6 p.m. and identified a 1996 white Mercury Grand Marquis missing from Kansas City.
Officers took Scroggs into custody for possession of the stolen vehicle. During questioning, Scroggs granted permission to police to search the residence and an outbuilding on the property for illegal drugs and paraphernalia. Police found an assortment of drug paraphernalia and a small amount of marijuana.
While searching the detached garage at the home, officers also observed a blue, plastic feeder bucket sitting on the floor of the garage near the door.
The bucket was filled to the brim with hardened concrete that appeared to have been freshly poured.
The discovery of the bucket led officers to believe that it could contain evidence consistent with the allegations that Krystal Scroggs had delivered a baby and that he had disposed of the body.
Police then conducted another interview with Matthew Scroggs, who admitted that Krystal Scroggs had miscarried at five months gestation. Scroggs also told investigators that he had helped deliver the stillborn male child, which he then put into the bucket and filled with concrete.
Later in the evening, the Jackson County Medical Examiner’s Office was called to the scene to remove the bucket containing the remains of the Scroggs’ child. Medical examiners removed the body and other child-related items from the concrete and an autopsy was conducted.
Evidence has since revealed the baby was born alive but later died after having trouble breathing. Neither of the parents sought medical attention for the baby. The autopsy later revealed the presence of methamphetamine in the baby’s system and that the intoxication was due to maternal methamphetamine use.
According to a probable cause statement released this week, Matthew Scroggs later told police that the baby was delivered in the bedroom of their residence.
Cass County Prosecutor Teresa Hensley believes the baby was born at full term.
Krystal Scroggs reportedly told a police officer while she was in the hospital on Nov. 5, 2013 that she had used meth and marijuana throughout a recent pregnancy and failed to receive prenatal care. She admitted to the police that she did not want any more children and had planned to give the baby up for adoption.
Upon birth, Krystal Scroggs said the baby appeared normal, but would not eat.
In another interview, Matthew Scroggs initially told investigators that the baby never took a breath. However, after further questioning, he said the baby demonstrated difficulty breathing, and that the child would stop breathing unless they bounced or rubbed the baby.
He also told police that during the course of the pregnancy, he used the Internet to research the consequences of meth use during pregnancy, and that prior to being born, he expected the baby would have complications.
Krystal Scroggs told police that after the baby was born, the couple fell asleep and when she awoke, the baby was dead.
She said she placed the baby’s body in a box and Matthew Scroggs agreed to bury the baby.
“They failed to get medical care for that child when the infant was born,” Hensley said. “It is under that failing to get medical care the child that they know or had reason to believe there was methamphetamine in its system is what the murder charge is based on.”
Matthew Scroggs was later arrested and charged by police for tampering with the stolen vehicle and the abandonment of a corpse while Krystal Scroggs was still in the hospital.
As part of the police department’s ongoing investigation, hair samples were also taken from the couple's four other young children, ages 11, 6, 4 and 3 years old, which also indicated the children had meth in their systems as well. The children have been placed into protective custody and are living with a relative.
Following the incidents in fall, Scroggs was booked in the Cass County Jail but was released on a $25,000 cash/surety bond Nov. 26.
If convicted, Matthew Scroggs faces a life sentence plus 46 years in prison, and Krystal Scroggs could spend be sentenced to life plus 39 years in prison.
NOTE: The developments on Thursday occurred after the Friday, Feb. 21 print edition of the newspaper was already on the press. Follow us on Facebook, Twitter and our website for the most up-to-date information on this story.