The Oklahoma man allegedly participated in the plan before the murder for truck parts
GLENCOE — An auto mechanic has been charged with first-degree murder after the body of a missing person was found on rural property to which he had access, court records show.
Christopher Michael Sommers, 21, was charged Thursday in Payne County District Court in the death of Samuel Kidd Crawford. An arrest affidavit said Crawford’s body was found in a “secret grave” along with parts of his truck on property owned by Somers’ employer.
Somers is accused of killing Crawford, 21, to sell parts for his truck, according to an affidavit from an Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation special agent. Somers’ acquaintances told investigators that Somers told them he was paid by someone in Cushing to kill people, and a few days before Crawford’s disappearance he talked about killing Crawford for his truck.
“I can have him come hang out with me, and I’ll take care of him,” Somers was heard saying, according to the affidavit.
Somers was arrested by OSBI on September 8, and is being held without bail in Payne County. An online court docket shows he does not yet have a lawyer. He is scheduled to appear before a judge on September 21.
Search for Samuel Kidd Crawford
On August 31, the Noble County Sheriff’s Office received a missing person report in Crawford. A persistent “ping” on the mobile phone revealed that the phone was not powered on and the last available data was dated August 29.
Crawford’s family members and friends told investigators that the disappearance was out of the ordinary.
Law enforcement officials learned early in the investigation that on the morning of August 29, Crawford was experiencing mechanical issues with his truck. Crawford asked his boss, Ethan Petrie, to help him connect with Somers, who was a mechanic.
In an interview with law enforcement on August 31, Somers said he met with Crawford and told him the parts needed to fix his truck, but Crawford never showed up at the time of their subsequent meeting.
In an interview with Somers’ aunt, she told investigators that he told her he was going to buy a white pickup truck. Crawford drove a white 2014 Dodge Ram, according to a missing persons alert from the Stillwater Police Department.
A helicopter search reveals a badly decomposed human body
After days of investigation, a helicopter search was conducted on September 8 for Crawford’s missing truck. Parts of the truck were found in a large field off East VFW Road in Glencoe. Somers gained access to that property through his employer, the affidavit said.
The truck cab, truck bed and large brush guard were on the property but “largely separated from each other” by several hundred feet. The brush guard was the same marked guard that was attached to Crawford’s truck, the affidavit said.
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After obtaining a search warrant, investigators found a recently dug and partially filled hole. On September 10, a “severely decomposed human body” was exhumed from the pit, with two possible gunshot wounds to the back of the skull.
OSBI spokesman Hunter Mackey told The Oklahoman that the medical examiner’s office identified the body as Crawford’s on Thursday.
Christopher Michael Somers arrested
Also on the property was a zipline that belonged to property owner Mike Ritter. Ritter told investigators that Somers was the only person using the equipment in the past few weeks.
There was also a flatbed trailer owned by Somers’ grandfather on the property, with the cab of Crawford’s truck on the trailer.
“Investigators learned from Mike Ritter that Chris Somers had the means, equipment and knowledge to dismantle a pickup truck and could complete this task within a day or two,” the OSBI agent wrote.
Investigators also learned that between September 5 and 8, Somers sold a 9mm semi-automatic handgun for $200.
The man who sold the gun to him told investigators that he had known Somers for three months, during which time Somers told him that he “routinely steals pickup trucks, takes them apart and sells the parts for money,” the agent wrote.
Another witness told investigators that Somers talked about killing Crawford or another man over their cars. Both men were summoned between August 20 and 25 in an attempt to lure them to Ritter’s property.
Somers allegedly threatened to kill his friends if they told anyone about the plan.