Homicide suspect sought

Victim found Easter morning on West First Street

Bob Foos

A suspect is sought in connection with a homicide victim discovered early Easter morning in Webb City.

Maria L. Whitaker, a 39-year-old Hispanic from Joplin, was found unresponsive by Webb City police officers who were called to stop a disturbance the 1000 block of West First St. at 3:22 a.m. Sunday, April 9.

According to Webb City Police Chief Don Melton, his officers investigated the death as a homicide from the beginning because of to the undisclosed manner of death.

A medical examiner on Tuesday ruled Whitaker’s death was a homicide.

Webb City detectives identified Nicholas Kyle Berry, a 51-year-old black male from Branson, as the homicide suspect.

On Wednesday afternoon, the Jasper County Prosecutor’s Office issued warrants for Berry. The charges are first-degree murder, armed criminal action and first-degree robbery.

Melton said Berry should be considered armed and dangerous.