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Man tortures, kills wife, and sets her body on fire in basement with kids home

The couple’s two young children, ages 6 and 9, were home at the time and had a lot to share with police.
The couple’s two young children, ages 6 and 9, were home at the time and had a lot to share with police.
2002 Mugshot from Missouri Department of Corrections

Aaron Wayne Clemons, 31, of Ozark, Mo. was arrested on June 23 and charged with the gruesome murder of his wife, 29-year-old Bailey Clemons. The husband was also charged with kidnapping, armed criminal action, arson and multiple counts of child endangerment, after police say he tortured and then killed his wife in the couple’s Ozark home, while the couple’s two young children - ages six and nine – were present in the home.

On June 17, the wife’s body was found in the burned out home where her husband told police she died before he set the house on fire on June 16, according to The Springfield News-Leader. An officer with the Ozark Police Department said that Clemons’ children told them that they witnessed their father beating and torturing their mother, but that the kids weren’t present at the moment of their mom’s death.

Following his atrocity, the father made a 911 call to say that he’d been in a fire. Responders took Clemons to a hospital in Springfield. Police arrested Clemons at the hospital after he confessed to tying his wife up with duct tape inside the house. Clemons also told police that he set the house on fire, but only after his wife was already dead. He didn’t go into detail as to how his wife died. According to a probable cause statement, Clemons told police that:

… he had "taped his wife's whole body to a pole by wrapping her around her feet, knees, butt, jaw and head with boxing tape in the basement."

He said he talked to her "for an hour or so, and then went upstairs to get some ice." He said when he returned she was dead.

Clemons also told the police that he had taken and then left his six-year-old daughter and nine-year-old son at a campsite in Stone County. When investigators got the chance to talk to the kids, the children told them that they witnessed their father knocking the mother down and beat her before dragging her into the basement.

One child said Bailey was crying and saying "I'm bleeding," and that Aaron Clemons said it was going to get worse.

After the beating and assumed death of their mother, Aaron emerged from the basement of the family home to inform his children that he’d taken their mom to work, and that he and the children were going camping. After investigators searched the burned out home, they said that the house fire began in the basement and that a strong smell of gasoline still hung heavy in the air. Two melted gasoline containers were found next to the wife’s burned and lifeless body.

When they found Bailey Clemons, they found her mouth was filled with a sock, and was tied behind her head. Investigators said a belt was found around her neck.

KY3 News shared more details from the probable cause statement offered up by Clemons’ children, including Clemons sitting atop his wife while beating her. The mother yelled to the children to run to the neighbor’s house and call police, but their dad said “no” and they should go to their rooms. The little girl told investigators “that her daddy had strangled and hit her mommy."

Prosecutors included the child endangerment charges because “Clemons subjected the children ‘to witness through sight and sound the defendant inflict violence against (their mother).’” As of this morning, Clemons was still in the custody of the Ozark Police Department and being held on a $1 million bond.

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