The president of the Traditionalist American Knights was found dead on Saturday. His wife and stepson are the primary suspects in the murder.
On Saturday, the body of 51-year-old Frank Ancona, a professed leader within the KKK, was found near a bank on the Big River, near the town of Belgrade, Mo., by a family who was fishing in the area.
Ancona's wife, 44-year-old Malissa A. Ancona, and his stepson, 24-year-old Paul Jinkerson Jr., were charged with his murder yesterday. In addition to first-degree murder, Ms. Ancona and Jinkerson Jr. face charges of abandonment of a corpse and tampering with physical evidence. Both of them are being held in jail without bond.
Jinkerson is accused of shooting and killing his stepfather while he was asleep in the master bedroom of their home in Linkwood, Mo., according to a probable cause statement, reports The Kansas City Star.
“Ms. Ancona admitted that she failed to report the crime and additionally attempted to destroy blood evidence and altered the crime scene in an attempt to conceal the offense and was acting in concert with her son Paul Jinkerson Jr.,” said the same statement.
St. Francois County Prosecutor Jarrod Mahurin told The New York Times that the murder is believed to be related to a marital dispute and not to Ancona's affiliation with the KKK.
According to Washington County coroner Brian DeClue, Ancona died of a gunshot wound to the head.
Authorities learned that Ancona was missing on Thursday, via Facebook, Washington County Sheriff Zach Jacobsen told the St. Louis Daily Journal. Later that day, they were told a Federal Forestry Service employee had found Ancona's vehicle on a heavily-wooded forestry service road in the Mark Twain National Park, nearby Potosi, Mo.
Ms. Ancona allegedly told Leadwood Police Chief William Dickey that she had last seen her husband on Wednesday morning. She reportedly said that his employer had called and told him to drive across the state to deliver a vehicle part, but his employer denied ever making that call or the delivery request.
When police searched Ancona's home, they discovered an empty safe that had been damaged and broken into. They also found that several of Ancona's firearms were missing. Ms. Ancona said that her husband had taken the guns with him on his trip, according to Dickey.
Police also report that Ms. Ancona had made a suspicious Facebook post -- about looking for a new roommate -- on the day she said her husband had left. She reportedly told Dickey that her husband had said that he planned to file for divorce upon returning from his business trip. She made the post because she figured she would need help paying for rent after her husband left her, said Dickey.
Ancona was a Grand Imperial Wizard and the president of the Traditionalist American Knights, a seemingly prominent group within the KKK. Earlier this month, The NYT had contacted Ancona while investigating a story regarding KKK flyers that had been anonymously dispersed at night in neighborhoods in Augusta, Me. Ancona answered when reporters called the number on the flyer.
Though he would not speak much about the size or operation of his sect, he denied that the KKK still practices or promotes violence. "The only thing people might see as a negative is we don’t believe in the mixing of the races,” he said. “We need to preserve the white race because we are the ones who keep civilization civilized.”
Ancona also made a TV appearance on MSBNC in Nov. 2014, during the height of the Ferguson protests in response to the police killing of Michael Brown. Ancona was asked about the allegedly violent manner in which the Traditionalist American Knights were telling their followers to deal with protestors. Watch the interview below.