(Update 2 p.m. – News Release) – A Platte County grand jury has indicted an Edgerton man for murdering his sister, three-month-old nephew, and grandparents, and then allegedly burning down the home where they lived together.
Grayden L. Denham, 24, has been in custody since February 21, when he was located in Arizona in a car authorities allege he stole from the scene of the other crimes.
Platte County Prosecuting Attorney Eric Zahnd said the grand jury returned the indictment on June 24. The indictment alleges Denham shot his sister, Heather Ager, 32, his three-month-old nephew Mason Schiavoni, his grandmother, Shirley Denham, 81, and his grandfather, Russell Denham, 82.
Their bodies were found burned outside their residence on Buena Vista Road in Edgerton. The home at that address had been burned, and a dog had also been shot and burned.
According to Platte County Sheriff Mark Owen, Sheriff’s Department deputies responded to a structure fire at 4170 Buena Vista Road, in Edgerton, on February 20. When deputies arrived, the home was fully engulfed in flames.
Deputies saw three bodies in the front yard, two adults and one infant. A dog was also dead in the yard. All of the bodies had been burned.
A male body was found by an out building east of the home. The body was lying on its back and also badly burned.
Investigators later determined that the four victims and dog had all been shot.
They also discovered that one vehicle, a brown 2012 Nissan Versa with handicapped license plates, was missing from the residence.
Investigators determined from relatives and neighbors that Denham was not allowed to drive the Nissan Versa or any of the other vehicles from that location because his driver’s license had been suspended.
Denham was located in Arizona along with the 2012 Nissan Versa. The Nissan Versa’s Missouri license plates had allegedly been removed and replaced with stolen Oklahoma license plates.
Denham is charged with four counts of first degree murder, which carry a minimum sentence of life in prison without the possibility of parole. Prosecutors could also seek the death penalty against Denham. Zahnd said he would review the case to determine whether the State would seek the death penalty.
Denham is also charged with:
• Four counts of armed criminal action, which carry a mandatory minimum sentence of three years in prison.
• Animal abuse, a misdemeanor, for killing the dog.
• Second degree arson, which is punishable by up to seven years in prison.
• Tampering with physical evidence, punishable by up to four years in prison.
• Stealing a motor vehicle, punishable by up to seven years in prison.
Judge James Van Amburg set bond in the case at $4 million cash only.
(11 a.m.) – Additional charges including murder have been filed against an Edgerton man who was found in Arizona following the death of four of his family members.
Grayden Denham, 24 is now charged in Platte County with four felony counts of first-degree murder, four felony counts of armed criminal action, felonies for second-degree arson and tampering with physical evidence and a misdemeanor for animal abuse. Denham was previously charged with a felony for stealing a motor vehicle.
As we previously reported, on February 20, Russell and Shirley Denham were found dead at their home in Edgerton. Their granddaughter Heather Ager, 32, and her three-month-old son Mason Schiavoni, were also found dead. A fire had completely destroyed a home on the property, and all of the victims’ bodies had been burned. A dog was also found dead in the yard.
According to court documents, Grayden Denham, who normally stayed at the residence, was not located there. Grayden Denham allegedly stole a 2012 brown Nissan Versa, which was owned by Russell and Shirley Denham.
Grayden Denham was located in Arizona on February 21 along with the 2012 Nissan Versa. The Nissan Versa’s Missouri license plates had allegedly been removed and replaced with stolen Oklahoma license plates.
Platte County Prosecuting Attorney Eric Zahnd and Sheriff Mark Owen plan to hold a press conference Monday afternoon to talk about recent developments in the quadruple homicide investigation.
As we learn more we will update this story.