Names released of Avilla homicide victims

JASPER COUNTY, Mo. – The Jasper County Sheriff’s Office releases the names of two homicide victims in Avilla.

They are identified as Mason McClure, 34, who resided at 255 Greenfield, and Nichole Hodges, 34, of Joplin.

Johnson Kevin Edit

Mugshot of Kevin Johnson

Deputies in Jasper and Newton Counties started investigating separate murder cases over the weekend. They now believe the two are connected.

On Feb. 20, 2021, around 4:10 a.m., the Newton County Sheriff’s Office responded to the area of State Line Road and Angus Drive for a report of a possible body in the ditch. Deputies found a body on the east side of the road.

Detectives started processing the scene as a homicide. They identified the remains as belonging to 25-year-old Brylee Obanion. Authorities are waiting on autopsy results to determine the exact cause of death.

They tracked her last known whereabouts to Jasper County. The Newton County Sheriff’s Office was seeking two people of interest, who were reportedly with the victim recently. This is when the Jasper County Sheriff’s Office became involved.

On Feb. 21, 2021, Jasper County deputies responded to 255 Greenfield in Avilla around 5:30 p.m. They found a man and female dead at the location.

They are identified as Mason McClure, 34, who resided at 255 Greenfield, and Nichole Hodges, 34, of Joplin.

According to preliminary autopsy results, they both died as a result of multiple gunshot wounds.

Around 4:30 a.m. on Feb. 22, authorities arrested Kevin C. Johnson, 24, for homicide. Deputies took him to the Jasper County Jail awaiting formal charges. They aren’t looking for any other suspects at this time.

Detectives are still investigating. This is an ongoing story and will be updated as information is released.