Suspect in Bradley County woman's death in custody in Kansas jail on fugitive-from-justice warrant

Warrant stems from theft of vehicle sought in woman's disappearance

Photo contributed by the Douglas County (Kan.) Sheriff's Office / Guy William O'Connell, 44, of Rhea County, Tenn.
Photo contributed by the Douglas County (Kan.) Sheriff's Office / Guy William O'Connell, 44, of Rhea County, Tenn.

A Rhea County, Tennessee, man described by authorities as a suspect in a Bradley County woman's death is in custody in Kansas awaiting extradition on a fugitive-from-justice warrant.

Guy William O'Connell, 44, of Rhea County, is being held in the Douglas County, Kansas, jail after being taken into custody on Aug. 25, according to Douglas County jail records and officials. Lawrence, Kansas, police made the arrest, Douglas County sheriff's spokeswoman Jennifer Hethcoat said.

The fugitive warrant was issued out of Bradley County in connection with a theft.

O'Connell's arrest was several days before a body later identified as that of 34-year-old Amber Renee Monday was found in a shallow grave on Dayton Mountain in Rhea County, according to 12th Judicial District Attorney General Mike Taylor.

O'Connell, who has waived his right to an extradition hearing, will return to Tennessee and is now suspected of being linked to that discovery, Taylor said Wednesday.

"He is suspected in the disappearance and death of Miss Amber Monday," Taylor said. "He has a history with Miss Monday. He was not a stranger."

Bradley County authorities have described O'Connell as Monday's "boyfriend."

photo Photo contributed by Bradley County Sheriffs Office / Amber Renee Monday, 34, was reported missing Aug. 18, 2020.

O'Connell was staying with relatives in Lawrence, Kansas, when he was taken into custody three weeks ago, Taylor said. Lawrence, a city of almost 100,000, is about halfway between Topeka and Kansas City.

More trouble could be waiting for O'Connell in rural Tennessee.

"There are potential additional charges in Bledsoe and Rhea County when he gets back to Tennessee," Taylor said.

The Bradley County warrant stems from the theft of a black Toyota Tacoma pickup truck that was connected with Monday's disappearance after she was reported missing on Aug. 18, Taylor said. Bradley's investigation of the truck theft allegations and the related fugitive warrant led authorities to O'Connell in Kansas, he said.

"As soon as one of our transport officers can get scheduled to go, he will be extradited," Bradley County Sheriff's Office spokesperson Taylor Woodruff said Wednesday of O'Connell. "When he gets back, the charge he'll be facing is theft over $10,000."

Bradley officials had no further comment on the case.

After Monday's body was found in Rhea County, a forensic autopsy led to a ruling on the manner of death as homicide, Taylor said, but he said he couldn't comment on the cause of death while the investigation is ongoing.

Taylor said "potential evidentiary items" were found at the grave south of Laurel Brook Academy near the western edge of the Cumberland Plateau. The Tennessee Bureau of Investigation, Rhea County sheriff's deputies and a team from the University of Tennessee Forensics Center recovered the body, officials said.

The Bradley County Sheriff's Office had been looking for Monday since she was reported missing, according to a news release by Woodruff.

Monday left a home on Blue Springs Road on Aug. 14 with O'Connell in a black, four-door 2001 Toyota Tacoma, and the two were last known to be around Cherokee Boulevard and Stringer Street in the North Shore area of Chattanooga, Woodruff said.

The TBI remained tight-lipped on Wednesday.

"Our investigation into the death and disappearance of Amber Monday remains open and ongoing, as special agents continue to review evidence and interview witnesses," TBI spokesperson Susan Niland wrote in an email.

Niland said the state is continuing to seek information in the case.

Anyone with information related to Amber Monday's death is urged to contact the TBI at 1-800-TBI-FIND or through TipsToTBI@tn.gov.

Contact Ben Benton at bbenton@timesfreepress.com or 423-757-6569. Follow him on Twitter @BenBenton or at www.facebook.com/benbenton1.

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