A 24-year-old man has been charged with first-degree murder after he allegedly killed a college student who was trying to sell his car for $11,000 on Craigslist. Taylor Clark, who had just taken his last exam at Southern Illinois University Edwardsville, brought a soda to his girlfriend at work Monday morning, then drove to a truck driver training center in Hazelwood, Missouri, to meet a prospective buyer. Emails show Michael Gordon, an employee of the facility, wanted to discuss Clark's 2007 Nissan 350ZX and perhaps take a test drive. But Clark, 19, never returned home. After family reported him missing, police found his car in the center's parking lot and his body in a nearby wooded area. "There was an attempt to cover him," officer Tim Fagan tells the Belleville News-Democrat. Police tell KTVI that Gordon met Clark on his lunch break, shot him once, moved his body, then returned to work.
Police believe Gordon, who is being held at the St. Louis County jail on a $1 million bond, acted alone, though they're exploring the idea that Clark had company. "We're looking at the possibility that there was someone with him," Fagan says. Authorities are still searching for the murder weapon and Gordon's car, a red 1990 BMW 325i. Workers at an Illinois convenience store where Clark worked say he was adored. "He would dance behind the counter," the manager says. "The customers loved him. His co-workers loved him. You won't find anyone to say a bad thing about him." A police department in Fairview Heights has since introduced a "safe exchange zone" for transactions with strangers in its parking lot, monitored by cameras. "You never know who it is you're contacting," Fagan tells the AP. "Precautions should be taken."