Four Arrested After Black Man’s Body Found Burning In A Ditch

Authorities in Iowa have arrested four people in connection with the death of a Black man whose body was found burning in a ditch.

What We Know:

  • Authorities have identified the deceased as 44-year-old Michael Williams. Williams’ body was discovered last Wednesday after authorities were alerted of a fire in a roadside ditch near Kellogg, Iowa.
  • Police have determined that Williams was killed in Grinnell, Iowa, around September 12. His body was wrapped in cloth and plastic and taken to Kellogg on September 16, where it was burned.
  • 31-year-old Steven Vogel, who is White, was arrested and is facing charges of first-degree murder and abuse of a corpse. Vogel was already in jail custody for unrelated charges, according to the Iowa Department of Public Safety. In an affidavit against Vogel, a witness claimed that Vogel admitted to strangling Williams and showed him the body in the basement of his Grinnell home. Court documents say that Williams and Vogel had known each other for several years.
  • Vogel’s mother, Julia Cox, 55, and Roy Lee Garner, 57, also face charges of abuse of a corpse, destruction of evidence, and accessory after the fact. The two of them live with Vogel in Grinnell. Cox said that she helped Vogel take a wrapped-up object out of his truck and put it in the ditch. Garner said that he drove the truck and discarded the items in the back of the pickup. Police located the items from the truck and found plywood, carpet, bleach bottles, rubber gloves, plastic, socks, and a receipt with Vogel’s name on it.

Cody Johnson, 29, was the fourth person arrested. He faces charges of abuse of a corpse and accessory after the fact. Johnson told authorities that he helped move the body from Vogel’s house on September 13.