Missouri Man Charged With Murder of Pulaski County Woman

Missouri Man Charged With Murder of Pulaski County Woman

PULASKI CO. – A Missouri man is being charged with murder in relation to the death of 18-year-old Hayley Decker, whose body was found in Pulaski County last month.

According to a release from the Illinois State Police, Decker was reported missing March 4 from the Normal area. Her body was found March 26 in Pulaski County at the Cypress Creek National Wildlife Refuge.

An investigation by authorities in Illinois and Missouri along with the FBI led authorities to charge 32-year-old James Merrit of Mourhouse, MO in connection to the murder. Merrit was arrested last week on the initial charges of trafficking for the purpose of sexual exploitation.

He now faces charges of first degree murder, armed criminal action and tampering with physical evidence. Merrit is being held in the Mississippi County Detention Center in Missouri.