Even though police still have not recovered the body or any remains of the victim, a fall trial date has been set for a Williamsburg man, who is accused of taking part in the killing of a missing local woman.
Judge Paul Winchester scheduled an Oct. 22 trial date Thursday afternoon for Joseph Bauer, 34, who is charged with criminal complicity to commit murder, criminal complicity to commit tampering with physical evidence, possession of a handgun by a convicted felon and first-degree robbery in connection with the Feb. 11, 2018, disappearance and believed killing of Laura Anderson.
According to his indictment, Bauer worked in conjunction with others to kill Anderson, hide her body and used physical force while in the course of robbing Anderson.
So far no one else has been charged in connection with Anderson’s killing, but Williamsburg Police Chief Wayne Bird said late last year that authorities have at least two additional suspects in Anderson’s disappearance.
“The investigation shows that there was definitely more than one person involved. As to who actually pulled the trigger, I am not real sure. I am confident they had help. We know that the body was moved once. We have good reason to believe he had help moving the body,” Bird said. “We are not where we think we need to be on an indictment for the other two individuals. Hopefully we will get there.”
Commonwealth’s Attorney Ronnie Bowling asked Winchester Thursday to set the trial date for late fall noting that he would have to subpoena FBI agents involved in the case, some of whom are in Washington, D.C.
Bowling anticipates that it will take him one week just to present the prosecution’s case during the trial.
Anderson was last seen on Feb. 11, 2018, when she exited her mother’s vehicle near Pilot Travel Center off Exit 11 after getting into a fight with her boyfriend.
In March 2018, police and emergency responders conducted a ground search in the Exit 11 area in addition to a search of the Cumberland River without turning up any signs of Anderson.
On Aug. 27, 2018, authorities caught a break in the case when Bauer contacted Williamsburg police confessing to his involvement in Anderson’s death, Bird said.
At the time, he wasn’t on police radar involving the disappearance, Bird said.
So far, police have been able to corroborate about 90 percent of Bauer’s information, except where the suspects disposed of Anderson’s body, Bird said.
Bauer initially told police that Anderson’s body was dumped in the Clear Fork River at the Savoy Bridge, which prompted an extensive water and ground search of the area that turned up a bone, which later was determined not to be human.
On Sept. 6, 2018, Bauer gave Williamsburg police new information saying that Anderson’s body was disposed off of Dal Road. A search of the area turned up bones, which officials determined the next morning weren’t human.
According to his indictment, Bauer has numerous prior felony convictions, including: a 2010 conviction in Whitley County for theft by unlawful taking, first-degree criminal mischief, first-degree fleeing or evading police; a 2007 conviction in Larue County for theft; a May 2004 conviction in Jefferson County for possession of a handgun/firearm by a convicted felony, first-degree wanton endangerment, and tampering with physical evidence; and a February 2004 conviction in Jefferson County for second-degree robbery, second-degree burglary, second-degree criminal possession of a forged instrument and theft by deception over $300.
Bauer has pleaded not guilty to the charges and is being held in the Whitley County Detention Center in lieu of a $1 million cash bond.