Daily American Republic
Lab analysis of forensic evidence found on the undercarriage of a truck owned by a local businessman is a DNA match for a Poplar Bluff teenager who was killed in a December hit-and-run accident. 13-year old Heavenly Grace Hafford died of blunt-force trauma after she was struck by two vehicles at 7:15 p.m. Dec. 9 as she was crossing Kanell Boulevard near the Maud Street intersection. The first vehicle, which allegedly struck the teen, was found shortly after the crash, and its driver, Randel Sparks, who allegedly was destroying evidence from his vehicle, was arrested. The 42-year-old Poplar Bluff man subsequently was charged with felony leaving the scene of an accident and felony tampering with physical evidence. His case recently was moved to Greene County on a change of venue. Authorities were searching for a late model Ford F-150 pickup and witness statements reportedly led them to 38-year old Ben Ressel as the second driver. Investigators obtained several swabs of suspected biological material and found it matched Heavenly Hafford. All reports have been sent to the Butler County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office.