HARRISONVILLE, Mo. (AP) _ A man who claimed to have lured drug dealers to his remote western Missouri cabin, killed them and spread their remains across the property was cleared of a murder charge Wednesday after experts determined most of the fragments were not human.
Anthropologists found that only 50 of the pieces were human, and that those appeared to have come from a professionally prepared anatomical specimen, prosecutor Teresa Hensley said Wednesday.
Michael Shaver had been charged Aug. 20 with a single count of first-degree murder after officers began finding bone fragments on his rented property. Dozens of officers scoured the heavily wooded property for more than a week in a search that resembled an archaeological dig.
They found more than 200 fragments and a hatchet, fueling suspicion about Shaver's claims that he had killed as many as seven people and scattered their remains.
Then last week, Henley received the final results of an analysis of 19 blood stains found in Shaver's bedroom. Only five of the blood stains were identified as human _ and DNA tests showed that in four cases it was Shaver's blood.
It was not clear Wednesday how the animal and human fragments got to the property.
The murder charge was replaced with felony counts stemming from a failed carjacking Aug. 18.
Authorities estimate the investigation cost tens of thousands of dollars and thousands of work hours.
``It is horrible misfortune for the Cass County sheriff's office and the Cass County prosecutor's office to spend that kind of time when we have other crimes we would like to be investigating and following and prosecuting,'' Hensley said. ``But it's the duty of our offices to check that out for public safety that truly what he is telling us isn't true.''
Shaver told deputies as he was being placed in a patrol car that he knew about human remains on the property and wanted to talk to someone about it, officials said.
Shaver, 33, appeared in court Wednesday shackled and wearing a black-and-white jumpsuit, with his hair cut in a mohawk. Two judges entered not guilty pleas on Shaver's behalf to attempted robbery, armed criminal action, resisting arrest and tampering, and he remained held in lieu of $500,000 bail.
Because he was charged as a persistent offender, Hensley said, the charges carry a combined possible sentence of life, plus 22 years.
Defense attorney Jason Speer said the public defender's office would have no comment.