The boyfriend of a woman found dead in her home with her 11-year-old daughter earlier this week is now charged in the slayings, Missouri officials say.
Authorities are searching for JT McLean, 45, who is accused of killing 43-year-old Allison Abitz and her daughter, Jozee Abitz. The bodies of the mother and daughter were found Sunday night inside their Boone County home, the sheriff’s office said.
Deputies were sent to the home just south of Columbia late Sunday night when a concerned family member could not get in touch with them, the sheriff’s office said. A motive for the killings is unclear.
McLean is the long-term boyfriend of Abitz and the last known person to be in contact with the mother and daughter, the sheriff’s office said. He was charged with two counts of murder Wednesday and a warrant has been issued for his arrest.
McLean is a truck driver who the sheriff’s office said has ties to Las Vegas; Chicago; St. Peter, Minnesota; Columbia, Missouri; and Fulton, Missouri. He is described as a white male, approximately 5 feet, 9 inches, 210 pounds with green eyes with brown hair.
Abitz was a teacher at Bush Elementary School in Fulton and Jozee was set to enter sixth grade in Fulton, according to media outlets.
“She was an excellent teacher. She was soft spoken,” Fulton School Superintendent Dr. Ty Crain told KRCG of the mother. “She always had a smile on her face. She definitely loved her kids.”
Jozee was also an acrobat and part of the Columbia Acro and Tumbling team for the past six years.
“(Jozee) was just so ready for anything. Just wide eyed and excited all the time,” family friend Katie Guinn told KOMU. “I’ve never seen a wider, happier smile on a child. That girl was always grinning from ear to ear and happy.”
McLean, who has also gone by the names John McLean, Steven Nagy and Steven McLean, faces a $1 million cash bond for his charges, the sheriff’s office said.
Anyone with information regarding McLean’s whereabouts is asked to contact the Boone County Sheriff’s Office at 573-442-6131.