A Missouri couple from Grain Valley has been found guilty of heinous crimes involving the murder and dismemberment of 32-year-old Kensie Aubry.
On Thursday, the jury found both 58-year-old Michael Hendricks and Hendricks’ partner, 31-year-old Maggie Ybarra, guilty of multiple charges. For Hendricks, the charges included first-degree murder, third-degree child molestation, and first-degree sexual misconduct. Hendricks’ partner, 31-year-old Maggie Ybarra, guilty charges included second-degree murder, first-degree harassment, attempted child enticement, and first-degree sexual misconduct.
The couple’s heinous crimes only came to light because of the bravery of a 13-year-old victim in foster care. The teenager was brave enough to report the sexual abuse she was facing to her case worker. During the trial, the victim testified that Hendricks and Ybarra had also shown her photos of a dead woman taken in their home. Ybarra’s own mother, Ruth Lohnes, took the stand to tell jurors that she had observed the couple with a dead body in a freezer, with one arm missing.
After Lohnes reported her daughter and Hendricks planned to bury Aubry’s body, police searched the Hendricks’ property. They removed what turned out to be multiple plastic bags containing human remains in July 2021. The gruesome discovery was corroborated by FBI agents at the search and local neighbors who reported seeing Hendricks using heavy machinery on his land.
The victim told police that Hendricks and Ybarra boasted of their violence against Aubry and even showed her photographic evidence. To dispose of her body, Hendricks admitted to cutting Aubry’s body into pieces with a chainsaw. Hendricks waived sentencing after the jury returned the guilty verdict. He will have a formal sentencing hearing later, but since it was first-degree murder, he is guaranteed life in prison without the possibility of parole.
On Thursday evening, after the jury’s verdict, Prosecutor Baker commended the young victim in the case for their bravery in coming forward. He declared: “I am thankful to the courageous child who had the strength to report what happened to law enforcement, who was able to stand strong in their testimony, and who is truly a hero.”
The conviction of Hendricks and Ybarra is a powerful reminder of the courage needed to speak up about abuse and violence and the strength of justice. It is due to the bravery of a single 13-year-old girl, innocent yet brave, that Kensie Aubry’s fate is revealed to the authorities.