Bolivar man faces murder charge

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Buffalo Road.jpeg

Bolivar Police officers stand watch after a shooting early Monday morning left one man dead and one man on the run.

A Bolivar man faces a murder charge after allegedly shooting and killing another man in the early morning hours Monday, March 23. 

According to online court records, Michael James Ybarra Jr. of Bolivar is charged with class A felony first-degree murder and felony armed criminal action in Polk County Circuit Court. 

Officers responded to the 200 block of West Buffalo Street at around 5:30 a.m. Monday, March 23, for shots fired.


Michael Ybarra Jr.

When officers arrived on scene, they found a man “obviously deceased on the floor of the living room of that address,” the probable cause statement said.

Polk County Coroner Melissa Britton identified the victim as 35-year-old Josh Phillips.

A witness, who was walking in from taking out trash, saw Ybarra “use a semi-automatic pistol and shoot (the victim) several times” before he fled out the front door, the statement said.  

“During the commission of the crime, a large bucket of white paint was knocked over and covered the floor making it impossible for anyone to leave the scene without stepping in the paint,” the statement said. 

Law enforcement later found Ybarra, described as a Hispanic man with a beard and the number 13 tattooed on his face, at around 9:30 a.m. in a residence in the 100 block of West College Street. He was arrested “after brief negotiations,” the statement said. 

Officers found “footprints in white paint” inside the front door of the apartment, as well as boots belonging to Ybarra with white paint on them, the statement said. They also found a 9mm handgun.  

Bolivar Police Chief Mark Webb said the location of the arrest is "just about two blocks from where the shooting happened."

The statement said Ybarra “has an extensive history of criminal activity,” which includes arrests for possession of narcotics, assaults, evading law enforcement, tampering with witnesses or victims and theft.

Ybarra faces previous charges, including class D felony third-degree assault and class D felony attempted escape from confinement by striking a person, after allegedly trying to escape from the Polk County Jail and injuring a deputy in December.  

He’s also charged with two counts class C felony delivery of controlled substance in Polk County.

Bolivar officers had seized Ybarra’s vehicle, a silver 2000 Buick Century, in December as evidence in a first-degree assault investigation, the statement said. When searching the vehicle, they found around 474 grams of marijuana and 1,321 grams of THC infused vape cartridges in a backpack. 

The statement said Ybarra also had an outstanding warrant in Texas. 

He is held on $1.5 million cash or surety bond. Ybarra was due in court for an appearance before Associate Judge John C. Porter Wednesday, March 24. 

BPD has worked alongside the Missouri State Highway Patrol, Federal Bureau of Investigation, Polk County Sheriff’s Office and the Polk County Prosecutor’s Office, a news release said.  

"This multi-agency follow-up investigation is continuing, additional search warrant applications have been submitted and coordinated joint investigative efforts are being addressed by the various agencies," the release said.

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