Mid-Missouri motorists are noticing notice six new billboards around the Columbia area, seeking information about the brutal November 2001 murder of “Columbia Daily Tribune” sports editor Kent Heitholt.
A group with the website justiceforkent.com has purchased the billboards, which are on Columbia’s Providence road, I-70 and on Highway 63. Their website says their “mission is to identify the killer(s) in this case and bring them to justice,” and they’re offering a $25,000 reward.
“Many of the facts in this (Heitholt) case have been obscured. Some of the obfuscation is simply the result of the passage of time. However, some has been from a concerted effort by the national media to craft a false narrative. Our goal is to cut through the fluff and only present facts,” the website says.
It’s unclear which “national media outlets” this website is referring to. NBC’s “Dateline”, CBS’ “48 Hours” and numerous other national outlets have been to Columbia over the years to profile the case.
The website says that in order to receive the $25,000 reward, you must provide information that authorities are able to use to arrest and then prosecute at least one suspect. The website says that while a conviction is not necessary, a trial is required.
Columbia assistant police chief Jeremiah Hunter tells 939 the Eagle that the Heitholt case remains an active and open investigation and that CPD follows-up on leads. Missouri’s Probation and Parole Board paroled a high-profile inmate in January in this case. 39-year-old Charles Erickson pleaded guilty to killing Heitholt, but later recanted his testimony. Erickson testified against co-defendant Ryan Ferguson in 2005, but later recanted and testified that Ferguson was innocent.
The courts overturned Ferguson’s murder conviction in 2013, and Ferguson was freed from the maximum-security Jefferson City Correctional Center (JCCC).
The billboards are on Interstate 70, Highway 63 and Providence road. KRCG’s Mark Slavit reports Farmington attorney Edward Pultz paid for the six billboards. Mr. Pultz had no comment, when contacted by Slavit.