Stepfather, Pal Charged in Rape & Murder of Missouri Girl
Friend confessed to attack on 9-year-old
By Jane Yager,  Newser Staff
Posted Nov 11, 2007 5:00 AM CST
Newton County (Mo.) Sheriff Ken Copeland updates media on Rowan Ford. (AP Photo/T. Rob Brown)   (Associated Press)
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(Newser) – The stepfather of a slain 9-year-old Missouri girl and a friend were charged yesterday with her rape and murder, reports CNN. The friend confessed to the crime after the girl's body was found in a hillside cave, according to a local sheriff

Rowan Ford disappeared last weekend while in her stepfather's care, and authorities became suspicious when he could not explain his lengthy absence from home that night. The friend said the two men took Rowan to the friend's trailer where both raped her and one of them strangled her with a cord.