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Woman faces murder charge in death of Independence woman found in duffel bag

Posted at 6:04 PM, Feb 22, 2021
and last updated 2021-02-22 19:04:19-05

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — A 22-year-old woman and a male accomplice allegedly bound and suffocated an Independence woman, who was found dead days later in a duffel bag along a northwestern Missouri highway, according to court records.

Taylor Stoughton faces a second-degree murder charge in Buchanan County in connection to the 2020 death of 21-year-old Ariel Starcher. A male suspect also has been taken into custody, but formal charges have not yet been announced.

On Feb. 5, 2020, while at the Sleep Inn on Northwest 97th Terrace in Kansas City, Missouri, Stoughton and the accomplice obstructed Starcher’s airflow until she was unconscious, then covered her mouth and nose with “a hotel wash cloth and available binding material,” a probable cause statement said.

RELATED: Family of woman found dead in Buchanan County seeks answers

The statement also said Starcher was then restrained and placed in a duffel bag, which was thrown into a ditch at 500 Vincent Road in Buchanan County.

It’s unknown at what point Starcher was fatally suffocated.

Stoughton and the male accomplice were arrested Saturday and Sunday, respectively, in Independence.

Editor's note: Previous 41 Action News coverage named the male accomplice who was taken into custody because there was an active search for him. Because the search is no longer active, 41 Action News will no longer name the individual unless charges are announced against him.

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