Owner of KC area property where body was found in jail on alleged child sex crimes

·3 min read

Michael Hendricks, the owner of a property where authorities unearthed the body of an as-of-yet unidentified person Wednesday, is currently incarcerated after being recently accused of sex crimes involving a child plus tampering with witnesses in a criminal case in Jackson County.

Hendricks, 40, is accused of seven felonies in Jackson County Court related to having sex with a woman in front of a child under the age of 14 and sexually molesting her. Charges were brought against Hendricks and his female companion, Maggie Ybarra, by a Jackson County grand jury earlier this month, court records show.

Hendricks is held in Jackson County jail on $500,000 bond. Greg Watt, an attorney representing Hendricks in the sex crimes case, said his client is innocent.

“We will be zealously representing the accused to the fullest extent of the law and believe strongly in his innocence concerning these matters,” Watt said in an emailed statement to The Star. “We have no doubt about our ability to provide strength during this difficult time and look forward to presenting his case to a Judge/Jury.”

Authorities discovered the human remains on Hendricks’s residential property in unincorporated Jackson County near Grain Valley in the 4000 block of South Buckner-Tarsney Road. They began searching around 9:30 a.m., using heavy construction equipment to dig a massive hole in the ground on the side of the home.

Several details remain unclear, including the identity of the person found. Police also have not named any suspects in what authorities have already determined is a homicide investigation.

In his ongoing criminal case, Hendricks allegedly had sex with Ybarra in front of a young girl as a matter of attempting to entice the child sexually. He also is accused of sexually molesting the girl by touching her vagina over the clothes.

Court records identify the child only by her initials. The Star generally does not identify victims of sexual assault. The alleged abuse took place between October 2020 and April 2021, court records show.

In May, Hendricks and Ybarra allegedly sought to tamper with the investigation by pressuring the child to keep quiet. They also are accused of discarding physical evidence related to a criminal investigation from Ybarra’s home.

Officials with local and federal agencies were granted a search warrant to perform the excavation on Hendricks’s property, said Officer John Syme, a spokesman for Independence police. The investigation was related to a missing persons case that was opened in nearby Independence.

Details about the human remains, including age, were not immediately disclosed by police. Police also have not specified the missing person investigation that brought them to the home, citing the ongoing investigation.

Speaking to reporters at the scene Wednesday afternoon, Syme said the body had not yet been identified but detectives were in contact with the family of the presumed victim. Once the body was positively identified, Syme said the agency would be seeking homicide charges in Jackson County.

“There’s nothing I want to do to hinder that investigation at this point in releasing any premature information,” Syme said. “There’s a body in the ground. I’m gonna leave it at that for now.”

The Independence Police Department is the lead investigative agency. Several other law enforcement agencies, including the FBI, were assisting with the investigation.