A 61-year-old Independence woman is accused of soliciting a hit man to kill her former son-in-law over a custody dispute involving her grandchildren.
Teresa Owen appeared in federal court on the charge Wednesday. A judge ordered that she be held in custody without bond while the case is pending.
The criminal complaint and affidavit filed in U.S. District Court in Kansas City alleges that Owen met with an undercover police officer she believed to be a hit man and agreed to pay $700 to ensure the intended victim was “gone and never to return.”
The alleged plot was brought to the attention of Independence police on June 6 when a person identified as a confidential source reported receiving an envelope from Owen that contained $100 and a note.
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In the note, Owen allegedly provided the name and address of the intended victim. The note also read “Overheard you say your friend will take a problem. All I can get done for this.”
The confidential source said Owen may have overheard him at a restaurant talking about collecting money from customers of his business.
The confidential source knows the intended victim and met him about the note because he thought it pertained to his business. The intended victim told him that Owen was his former mother-in-law and they were involved in an ongoing custody dispute, according to the court documents.
When the confidential source called Owen to ask what the money was for, she allegedly told him it was to take care of the person named in the note.
At the behest of police, the confidential source made a recorded call to Owen and told her he would have another person call her.
That other person was an undercover Kansas City police officer, who called Owen and set up a meeting.
They met at an Independence library parking lot on June 10. During the meeting, Owen allegedly asked the undercover officer how much it would cost for the intended victim to be gone.
The officer told her it would cost $700.
“Owen indicated that is what she wanted,” according to the affidavit. “Owen told the (undercover officer) that the intended victim was a problem for her and was standing in between her seeing her grandchildren.”
She allegedly told the officer that she wanted it to look like an accident.
In a follow-up meeting on June 11, she gave the officer $200 and provided photographs of the intended victim, his address, the kind of car he drives and where he works, according to the court documents.
When the officer asked if she really wanted to go through with the plan, she reiterated that she did, according to the documents.
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