A Missouri man has been charged with murder in his wife’s death after their 7-year-old daughter told a school counselor she saw her mother’s body in their home’s basement, PEOPLE confirms.
Benjamin Byers, 45, of Kansas City, has been accused of fatally stabbing his wife, Melissa Byers, 47, before wrapping her body in sheets and hiding it in the basement of their family’s home, according to a probable cause statement obtained by PEOPLE.
Police were notified of the alleged murder Wednesday, when Byers’ daughter told a school counselor she saw her mother’s body downstairs the night before, the document states.
Police forced their way into Byers’ home, where Byers met them in the living room. Upon questioning, Byers told authorities he didn’t know where his wife was and that he hadn’t seen her since Monday, when she went to work.
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Following a trail of blood drops throughout the house, police made their way to the basement, where they found a tarp with blood around it. Blood — believed to be drag marks — led investigators to a body wrapped in clothing, carpeting, plastic and sheets.
A large portion of carpet from the home’s dining room appeared to have been removed, the documents allege.
Byers has been charged with second degree murder, armed criminal action, abandonment of a corpse and endangering the welfare of a child, a Kansas City police spokesperson tells PEOPLE.
During their investigation, police noted the home appeared to have been recently cleaned, according to the documents. It is unclear whether Byers has an attorney who could comment on his behalf.
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The girl told police she had not seen her mother since Monday and that her father was “acting weird” when he picked her up from school Tuesday. She said he also appeared to be drinking. Later that night, she said, Byers allegedly asked her to get him a beer before falling asleep.
The child said she saw “lots of blood” in the home and followed it down to the basement, where she saw the body. It appeared to be stabbed in the back, the girl recalled.
Police have not revealed a motive for the alleged murder. The girl said she didn’t tell her father what she saw in the basement because she “didn’t want to be next.”
It is unclear when Byers is schedule to appear in court. Jackson County prosecutors have requested a $500,000 bond, a Jackson County Prosecuting Office spokesperson tells PEOPLE.