VERONA, Ky. - Three men were arrested by the Boone County Sheriff's Office early Tuesday in a homicide case that is taking a bizarre turn.
Detectives discovered a torso and some dismembered body parts of an unidentified Walton, Ky., man a week ago in a field in Verona, Ky. They also learned missing body parts may have been placed in the dumpsters of a Super 8 Hotel and Motel 6 on Dream Street in Florence, Ky.
The sheriff's office reports it has not officially named the victim because DNA may be needed to positively identify him.
Sheriff's office detectives arrested Jefferey W. Allen, 21, of Verona, Anthony Baumgartner, 23, of Florence, and Stephen Harkness, 22, of Verona for charges of murder, kidnapping, abuse of a corpse and tampering with physical evidence in Northern Kentucky on Tuesday morning.
All three arrested have military records. 9 On Your side confirmed that Allen served in the Marines from March 2011 to October 2012, leaving the military with a rank of Private. The sheriff's office said Allen was dishonorably discharged, but the Marine Corps could not confirm this information for privacy reasons. The Marines also confirmed Allen received a Global War on Terrorism Service Medal and a National Defense Service Medal. He did not serve overseas.
Allen does have a prior arrest in 2010 for disorderly conduct.
Public records show Baumgartner was or still is a sailor in the Navy. Boone County investigators said he was arrested for criminal trespassing in 2007.
Harkness also served in the Marines from 2009-2012. He fought in Operation Enduring Freedom in Afghanistan for less than two months. Investigators said he has no criminal record in Boone County. In addition, Harkness was featured in a 2011 article on KyPost.com before shipping off for Afghanistan .
Boone County Sheriff's Office spokesman Tom Scheben said the three accused men lured the victim, a suspected Boone County heroin dealer, to a fake drug buy where they killed him to rid the world of "one more bad guy" on Jan. 9.
"They were going to rid the world -- perhaps one person at a time -- of the evil, and this person, if it's the one we're thinking it is or could be, is a suspected heroin dealer," said Scheben.
A missing person's report initially sparked the debate.
Scheben said if the victim is who police believe he is, he has not been seen since Jan. 9. The man's family submitted a missing person report to the police on Sunday, Jan 13.
Police hope to find enough evidence that allows them to make a formal identification so the victim's family can have some closure. They know that the man had tattoos on his extremities.
Sheriff's deputies also combed through a Rumpke garbage dump in Butler, Ky., in search of missing body parts Tuesday. Their search focused on two areas of the landfill where trash from Florence was dumped either last Friday or Tuesday morning.
Stay with WCPO.com and 9 On Your Side for more updates.