Hotel employee killed

An employee was killed during an attempted robbery at the Comfort Inn on Clark Lane on Nov. 24.

"This was a random robbery gone horribly wrong," Columbia Police Department Capt. Brad Nelson said.

The police have identified a suspect as Dwight T. Hayes of Columbia. Nelson said there was no relationship between the woman, Cynthia White, and Hayes. He also said the police believe Hayes gained entry to the hotel and attempted to rob the front desk.

According to Missouri court documents, money was taken from the cash drawer.

Hayes was taken into custody on Nov. 25 from a family member's home, the news release stated. Police took a handgun and ammunition as evidence.

"Hopefully, it is the same weapon that was used in the murder," Nelson said.

Hayes gave incriminating statements about this murder and another incident at the same location on Nov. 16 during an interview after the arrest, the news release stated.

It also stated that Hayes was arrested on suspicion of second-degree murder, first-degree robbery and armed criminal action for this homicide.

He was also arrested on suspicion of first-degree robbery, forcible rape, forcible sodomy and armed criminal action for the other incident.

Hayes was arrested on suspicion of raping a female employee and stealing her car. There is no indication of an accomplice in that incident, Nelson said.

According to court documents, Hayes attempted to gain access to a guest room at a different hotel on Nov. 13. Nelson said Hayes has been charged for all events.

The investigation about this homicide is not yet complete, and police are not eliminating the possibility of accomplices, Nelson said. According to court documents, Hayes said he and an acquaintance, C.J., planned to rob the Comfort Inn. C.J. approached the front desk with a handgun and demanded money, and C.J. shot the victim.

There were no surveillance cameras at the Comfort Inn and no witness have come forward, Nelson said.

According to the news release from the Columbia Police Department, officers responded at 6:14 a.m. to a call about a suspicious incident at the hotel.

According to court documents, hotel guests could not get into the hotel through the front doors.

"Responding officers checked the facility and located an employee of the hotel in the office deceased," the news release stated.

According to the news release, this is Columbia's third homicide of the year. There were two homicides last year and eight in 2005, Nelson said. On average there have been two to four homicides per year in Columbia during the past 10 years, Nelson said.

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