Donald Christopher Hadden’s friends thought he was a snitch.
And on July 5, 2015, police say, Hadden was taken by two acquaintances to a rural area in Clinton County, Mo., shot dead by one of the men and abandoned. The men later tried to recover Hadden’s body under the influence of drugs, one of the men allegedly would later tell police, but couldn’t remember where they’d left the body.
A day after an 18-month search for Hadden came to an end — when a body thought to be Hadden’s was found Sunday in a wooded area in Clinton County — prosecutors charged two men with his murder.
Micah Wynes and Joseph D. Seward, both 29 and from Liberty, were each charged Monday with one count of murder and armed criminal action in the death of Hadden, who has been missing since July 2015.
A 33-year-old military veteran and aircraft mechanic who had come to Kansas City in 2015 to work a temporary contract job, Hadden’s disappearance would eventually involve multiple agencies, including the Liberty Police Department, the Platte and Clay county sheriff’s offices and Kansas City police.
But his body was not found until this Sunday, when a resident stumbled upon a human skull and several other bones near U.S. 33 and Cannonball Road. The skull had six to seven pellet wounds. Two shotgun shell casings were recovered at the scene.
A divorced father of three who was originally from Averna, Ga., Hadden at the time of his death was known to hang out with a group, including Wynes and Seward, that bought and used heroin, court documents say.
Police interviews with Seward, Wynes and others indicated that Hadden was killed because of concerns he was going to turn people into the police, according to court documents.
According to the documents:
On the morning of July 5, 2015, Wynes told Seward and Hadden that he needed to deliver a shotgun to his meth dealer’s house. The three left a Sleep Inn — where the men had drunk and shot heroin for several days — in a car they had borrowed from a woman.
The group of people Hadden associated with had begun to suspect him of being a snitch. Hadden’s girlfriend, Katy Jackson, had looked through Hadden’s phone and found information that made her think Hadden was a confidential informant trying to collect information on Wynes, herself and others they associated with.
Hadden reportedly was seen stealing money, identification, Social Security cards and heroin from another man while the man was overdosing.
Jackson allegedly told Wynes that if he was hiding Hadden, then “they” were going to come after Wynes and his family.
Wynes made a stop at a gas station on the morning of July 5. Then he told Seward and Hadden to turn their phones off and put their heads down.
But Wynes didn’t stop at his meth dealer’s house. Instead, he drove off a paved road onto a gravel road and drove for about 50 more yards.
Wynes allegedly told Hadden that he was going to shoot him for being a “snitch.”
Hadden asked to call his mother first.
But Wynes reportedly wouldn’t let Seward give Hadden his phone.
Outside the car, Hadden began to walk toward the back of the car, and Wynes allegedly shot Hadden in the right side of his upper chest. Hadden ran down an embankment while Wynes kept shooting until he ran out of ammunition, according to court documents.
Wynes had run out of gas for the car. So he flagged down an older lady in a white truck who returned with a can of gas. Police would later unsuccessfully try to find this women to ask her questions during their investigation.
In the days following Hadden’s death, Wynes allegedly did not appear to make a secret of Hadden’s death. Wynes told Jackson he had killed Hadden for being a “snitch” and left his body in a rural area, court documents say.
Wynes reportedly told another man he had shot Hadden and showed him three shells that he supposedly used. The same man had demanded a picture of Hadden’s body. But though Wynes and Seward allegedly “shot up and drove around” trying to find the body, they could not remember where it was located.
According to police records, Hadden’s mother, Leisa Hadden, reported her son missing to the Clay County Sheriff’s Office and Liberty Police Department on July 8 and July 9, 2015, respectively. She told police it was unusual for her son not to be in touch with her. When she called his phone, a female answered and said she was a manager at the Outback Steakhouse on Barry Road in Kansas City and had found his phone in the parking lot.
Hadden would go on to invest much time and money in trying to learn what had happened to her son. She traveled to Kansas City several times to hand out fliers throughout the Northland. Much to the chagrin of investigators, she interviewed and met with several of her son’s acquaintances, trying to piece together what had happened to him. In early 2016, she put up $1,000 in reward money for information regarding her son’s disappearance.
Reached on Thursday, Leisa Hadden said she was preparing to travel to Missouri and did not yet wish to speak to the press. But last year, she told The Star that her son had indicated he was struggling before his death.
He called her distraught several weeks before his death.
“Things are getting really bad up here, Momma.”