In August of 2013, the body of Korey Kauffman was discovered by hunters in Stanislaus National Forest in Northern California after having gone missing the previous year.
Now, nine people, including three California Highway patrol officers as well as a prominent criminal defense attorney, have been arrested in connection with his murder.
Kauffman, 26, was last seen on March 19, 2012 when he left the home of a friend in Turlock. His stepfather, Kevin Pritchett, whom he was living with, reported him missing on April 2, 2012.
After reporting him missing, Pritchett reportedly received a threatening letter in his mailbox that stated, “Heard your son was beaten, I hope he’s not dead, I heard he was dumped in a dumpster in Modesto.”
His body was discovered nearly a year and a half later in the woods.
Kauffman had reportedly made a living by collecting scrap metal. And Frank Carson, the defense attorney accused of orchestrating the murder, suspected him of stealing scrap metal from his property. There had reportedly been a battle going on between a friend of Kauffman and Carson over the stolen items for years.
Messages on his stepdaughters computer noted that Carson was “freaking out” about his items being stolen and had began to carry a gun.
A 326-page arrest affidavit released on Friday details a massive conspiracy involving the Carson family, the officers, and two local business owners.
California Highway Patrol officers Walter Wells, Eduardo Quintanar Jr. and Scott McFarlane, were all arrested in connection with his death and face conspiracy charges.
Well, however, is also charged with first-degree murder and false imprisonment.
Frank Carson, the accused ringleader, is described as “a vengeful property owner seeking to send a message against people allegedly stealing scrap metal and antiques from his property in Turlock.”
“To hear news like this is devastating to our organization,” said CHP Commissioner Joe Farrow in a Friday press conference. “The allegations themselves are extremely disturbing to a professional law enforcement organization and are a deep blow to the soul of the law enforcement profession itself.”
Details are scarce on the officer’s involvement as of yet, but patrolman McFarlane lived next door to Kauffman, and Tony Kauffman, the victim’s father had gone to him for help with how to handle the missing person investigation.
“I am old school, I look up to police officers,” Tony Kauffman told The Sacramento Bee. “You don’t expect them to be involved in the murder of your child, that’s for damn sure.”
McFarlane and Quintanar are on administrative leave despite their charges, and Wells is no longer employed by the department due to conduct unrelated to the murder investigation.