Anniversary of Jacque Waller disappearance approaches

Friday, May 11, 2012
FILE - This undated file photo provided by Ruby Rawson shows Jacque Sue Waller and her triplet children. Clay Waller, 41, the husband of Jacque Waller, was charged with first-degree murder in the death of Jacque on Monday, April 23, 2012, even though his estranged wife's body has not been found. (AP Photo/Ruby Rawson, File)

As friends prepare tributes to Jacque Sue Waller, who went missing June 1 last year, prosecutors are trying to return her estranged husband James Clay Waller to Cape Girardeau County to face a murder charge. And Clay Waller continues the appeal of a five-year sentence for making an Internet threat against Jacque Waller's sister.

Authorities issued a murder warrant for Clay Waller on April 23, the same day he was charged with first-degree murder in connection to Jacque Waller's disappearance. Prosecutors filed a writ April 30, requesting he be transported to the county in the murder case.

"Getting any person from any prison, you have to file the proper paperwork," said Cape Girardeau County Assistant Prosecutor Angel Woodruff. "Now, it's up to the prison."

Sheriff's department spokesman Lt. David James said he is busy preparing for Clay Waller's return.

"I'm still working on reports and evidence and things like that," James said. "You have to make sure everything you collected over the course of the investigation, all the 'i's' are dotted and 't's' are crossed."

Authorities have said since Jacque Waller's disappearance that Clay Waller was the last to see her alive.

According to a probable cause statement, Jacque Waller had been living in Ste. Genevieve County since March 2011, while Clay Waller had been living in Jackson. The statement said Jacque had also started seeing someone while the couple were separated. Clay Waller also had a girlfriend, who lived in Illinois, according to the statement.

On the day Jacque Waller disappeared, the Wallers had met with an attorney about divorce proceedings. At the meeting, the couple argued about financial problems, according to the document prepared by Jackson Police Chief James Humphreys.

Clay Waller has denied any wrongdoing related to Jacque Waller's disappearance,

Jacque Waller's blue Honda Pilot was seen at the house where Clay Waller was staying into the evening on the day she went missing, though there is no account of her whereabouts for several hours that afternoon and evening. Her family last heard from her when she said she was going to meet Clay Waller to get one of their children from him.

Waller, 41, pleaded guilty Oct. 3 to threatening Cheryl Brenneke, his wife's sister and the guardian of his three children, on the Internet site Topix. After hearing emotional testimony from Brenneke and federal prosecutor Larry Ferrell's plea to significantly vary from the suggested six- to 12-month sentence, Judge Stephen Limbaugh imposed the maximum sentence of five years on Clay Waller.

In addition to sentencing him, Limbaugh said Waller more than likely murdered his wife.

Waller appealed the stiff sentence and prosecutors responded to the appeal.

On May 2, Waller's attorney, Scott Tilsen, replied to the response, again saying unrelated and uncharged criminal conduct -- in this case the judge's assertion that Waller killed his wife -- cannot be the basis for a variance in the sentence.

Meanwhile, friends of Jacque Waller continue searching for her. Most recently, they searched Saturday.

Friends and co-workers have scheduled a 5k run/walk in her memory for June 2 at the Shawnee Park Sports Complex concession stand, on Rust Avenue. Proceeds from the fund are to go to the Jacque Waller Family Fund, at U.S. Bank.

"I was trying to come up with an idea that would honor the things that Jacque stood for and raise money for the family," said Bridgid Sample, a former co-worker of Jacque Waller's. "Jacque was very fit. She was talking about doing a 5k."

About 200 people have signed up for the competitive run, scheduled for 8:15 a.m., said Mike Stone, one of the race organizers. The event will also include a 1-mile family walk, scheduled for 9 a.m., for which about 70 people have signed up.

Organizers hope to have a bouncy house, dunk tank and face painting at the event. Several restaurants will provide food, Stone said.

"We really wanted something positive to do close to the anniversary of her disappearance, so people who knew and loved her will have something more fun to do," Sample said. "She was very focused on her children and I know she would be very happy with what we've done. She would be giving us the thumbs up."

jgamm@semissourian.com

388-3635

Pertinent address:

Shawnee Park Sports Complex, Cape Girardeau, MO

Map of pertinent addresses

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