82-year-old beating and robbery victim dies

82-year-old Robert Willhite has died in a Columbia hospital from injuries sustained in a strong arm robbery on July 25. Five peope have been arrested.

The 82-year-old Pulaski County man who was beaten and robbed in his home on July 25 has died from his injuries in a Columbia hospital, according to Pulaski County Sheriff Ron Long.

Authorities became concerned when the victim's vehicle was found abandoned on a farm near the Gasconade River. Upon investigation, deputies learned that the owner of the vehicle was 82-year-old Robert Willhite and went to his house on Highway T near Swedeborg to check on his well-being.

Upon arrival, they found Willhite lying bound on the floor, severly injured.

After an intense investigation involving several local law enforcement agencies, five people were arrested on numerous charges, which included weapons and drug allegations.

Long says that in addition to the arrests, some stolen property from the robbery has been recovered, as well as multiple firearms connected to other offenses committed in Pulaski and Miller Counties.

Arrested were 57-year-old Roby Sapere, 35-year-old Thomas York, 24-year-old Jessica Berry, 34-year-old Melissa Winkle, and 42-year-old Vernon D. Parker. Parker was the focus of a manhunt on July 26 in Pulaski County that resulted in the arrest of three people on charges of making a homemade bomb in a house south of Laquey.