News Flash


Posted on: May 24, 2017

Criminal Charges Filed Against Two Individuals Responsible for 2016 Death of Wayne Gilley


Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Criminal Charges Filed Against Two Individuals Responsible for 2016 Death of Wayne Gilley 

Branson, MO (May 24, 2017) – The Branson Police Department is pleased to announce that closure has been brought to the case in which Mr. Wayne Gilley was found deceased on August 26, 2016. It was quickly determined that Gilley was the victim of foul play, being ruled a homicide by Taney County Coroner Kevin Tweedy. Criminal charges have now been filed against two individuals, bringing this long investigation to a close, and Branson Police Chief Dobbins states “Our prayers and condolences remain with the Gilley family, and we hope this helps the family to bring closure to the loss of their loved one.”

As of Wednesday, May 24, 2017, Taney County Prosecutor Jeff Merrell filed criminal charges against two individuals, Jeremiah J. Fanning and Melissa L. Claus, both of Branson, including second-degree murder, first-degree assault, armed criminal action, and abandonment of a corpse.

Chief Dobbins adds “This has been a very well managed and thorough investigation in order to bring these charges forth, and required a tremendous amount of work by the men and women of the Branson Police Department. This investigation required a lot of forensics and legwork to develop the timeline related to this crime, as well as countless interviews. We are grateful for the excellent support of Prosecutor Merrill and his staff, and also wish to thank the Hollister Police Department led by Chief Preston Schmitt, for bringing Melissa Claus into custody today.”

Both Fanning and Claus are in custody in the Taney County Jail with a bond set at $500,000 each individual.

Media inquiries related to this content may be directed to Jennifer Langford, Communications Manager, City of Branson at or by calling 417.337.0017

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About the City of Branson, Missouri:  Located in Southwest Missouri, the City of Branson is committed to its citizens and to those who visit here, to ensure a safe and environmentally sound community. We will work as a team to maintain and promote the growth of our City, and to provide professional, courteous service to all through fair and open communication. We look to tomorrow, remembering yesterday, dedicated to excellence today.

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