An area woman is facing felony murder charges after police say she murdered her husband and abandoned the body.
Susan J. Armantrout, 41, of Ste. Genevieve County, is being charged with a class A felony of murder in the first degree, felony armed criminal action and a class E felony of abandonment of a corpse. She is being held in the Ste. Genevieve County Jail on a $1 million cash only bond.
According to a probable cause statement, at 8:27 a.m. Friday, a deputy with the Ste. Genevieve County Sheriff’s Department was called to make contact with Aaron M. Armantrout, 36, regarding death threats.
On Saturday, the same deputy was dispatched to call Armantrout’s father, who reported that his son was missing. The father told the deputy that his son has recently had problems with his wife making death threats toward him. The man told the deputy that Aaron was supposed to meet his sister the day before, but never showed up.
The man said family members went to Armantrout’s home located in the 17,000 block of Route D in Ste. Genevieve County looking for him Saturday morning. Aaron was not home and his BMW was also gone. The father told the deputy that a family friend had just left the residence and told him the house smelled like bleach.
On Saturday morning, a lieutenant with Ste. Genevieve Sheriff’s Department was called by the deputy and briefed on what was going on. The lieutenant told the deputy to ask everyone to exit the home and wait for a detective and himself to get there.
When they arrived they spoke with the deputy, who once again stated that he told everyone to leave the home and then placed crime scene tape around the house. The deputy said that he did not conduct a thorough search of the home to make sure it was empty.
The lieutenant, detective and deputy all went inside the house to ensure there was no one else in there and no one was in need of medical assistance. It was noted in the report that when they entered the home there was a strong smell of cleaning chemicals and was the strongest in the master bedroom, where the couple slept.
The door leading into the master bedroom was locked and when the officers were able to get inside, they saw an area of carpet that had been recently cleaned. They also saw cleaning supplies in the adjoining bathroom.
The lieutenant reported that at this point Susan Armantrout was unable to be located and a search began for both Aaron and Susan Armantrout, to determine what or if anything had happened to either of them. Aaron Armantrout was listed as a missing person and Susan Armantrout was listed as wanted for questioning.
After the sheriff’s department investigated the home it was turned back over to the reporting party who was there for the deputy’s initial arrival. It was also noted in the report that the portion of the carpet in the master bedroom was wet with an extreme odor of bleach.
At 10:34 p.m. Sunday the lieutenant was called by an officer who told him Susan Armantrout had been located and detained at a home in the 100 block of Dover St. in Bonne Terre. It was later discovered the home was an acquaintance of Susan’s and the woman reported that the woman had confessed to her that she had killed her husband, Aaron Armantrout, by shooting him.
Susan Armantrout was taken into custody and transported to the Ste. Genevieve County Jail and the truck she had been driving was secured by law enforcement and later towed to the Ste. Genevieve County Sheriff’s Office Impound Yard.
When the Ste. Genevieve detective arrived at the Bonne Terre Police Department, he spoke with the Bonne Terre woman regarding statements made to her by Susan Armantrout pertaining to her husband’s death. The woman told the detective that Susan Armantrout had arrived at her home earlier Sunday evening at 7:30 p.m.
She said that Susan was not a close friend and that she was acquainted with her because she once dated her nephew. She also said she was aware law enforcement was searching for Susan and Aaron Armantrout due to the media reports and was surprised Susan Armantrout had come to her home, of all places, because of their somewhat distant relationship.
The woman said that she had spoken to Susan Armantrout in her bedroom and was told that Armantrout had killed her husband, Aaron, by shooting him. She told the woman that she placed his body in the trunk of the BMW and jammed the lock.
Early Monday morning, officers with the Ste. Genevieve County Sheriff’s Department interviewed another friend of Susan Armantrout, who they believed, through the course of the investigation to have been in contact with her at or around the time that Aaron Armantrout had gone missing.
At 10:15 a.m. the lieutenant was notified by the Ste. Genevieve County Sheriff’s Jail that Susan Armantrout had asked to speak with him, Armantrout was brought to the interview room and immediately admitted to shooting and killing her husband.
The lieutenant reported that he did not interrupt Armantrout’s confession until she stopped talking about murdering her husband. At that point, the lieutenant told Armantrout he needed to ask her some questions and advised her of her Miranda rights.
He said Susan gave a very detailed confession and said she had hidden the body in the BMW’s trunk and placed the car into a storage shed in Potosi. Susan also said she had shot her husband in the head with a pistol in the master bedroom and had cleaned up the scene using a type of cleaner with bleach in it.
She said she alone dragged her husband’s lifeless body through the garage and put him into his car. She said she drove the body to Potosi and was picked up by her friend, who was driving her pickup truck.
Armantrout described the location where she hid the body and car, as a storage locker located at 8 and U Storage in Potosi. During the course of the investigation, the lieutenant interviewed Susan Armantrout’s mother, who described Susan’s attempt to shoot her husband the previous fall at Lake Hanna in St. Francois County.
The friend who picked Armantrout up said she had been told by Susan that the one bullet she kept in the pistol was for killing her husband. The lieutenant reported that during the interview with Armantrout, she said she only had one bullet in her gun when she shot her husband in the head.