Two suspects indicted in Harlan County on murder charges - WDRB 41 Louisville News

Two suspects indicted in Harlan County on murder charges

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Melissa Starrett (Image Source: Harlan County Detention Center) Melissa Starrett (Image Source: Harlan County Detention Center)
James Starrett (Image Source: Harlan County Detention Center) James Starrett (Image Source: Harlan County Detention Center)

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- A grand jury has indicted two people in Harlan County, Kentucky, on charges of complicity to commit murder.

According to Kentucky State Police, 47-year-old Melissa Starrett and 42-year-old James Starrett, both of LeJunior, Kentucky, are facing the charges. LeJunior is about 50 miles south of Hazard, Kentucky.

KSP Trooper Shane Jacobs tells WDRB the charges stem from Melissa and James Starrett's plan to murder Melissa's son.

Police say the investigation was started after officials received a missing person report on Dec. 22, 2016 about 58-year-old Hershel Starrett, also of LeJunior. According to investigators, Hershel is the husband of Melissa Starrett and the uncle of James Starrett.

Authorities say troopers, detectives and members of the Harlan County Rescue Squad started searching the area surrounding Hershel Starrett's residence on Christmas Eve, but could not find him.

Officials say an investigation revealed that Melissa and James Starrett had tried to purchase a firearm. 

Police say in addition to the complicity to commit murder charges, the pair is also charged with receiving stolen property.

Authorities say the complicity to commit murder charge is not related to Hershel Starrett's disappearance, which police are continuing to investigate.

Investigators say Hershel Starrett is a white male, 5'8, weighs 155 pounds and has brown eyes. Anyone with information about his whereabouts is asked to call Kentucky State Police at 606-573-3131. Callers can choose to remain anonymous.

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