The Murders of Allison & Jozee Abitz and Daniel & Pamela Stephan

On August 23, 2021, Allison Abitz, 43, and her daughter, Jozee Abitz, 11, were found murdered in their home on Lavender Drive, just south of Columbia, Boone County, MO. Police suspected Allison Abitz’s long-time boyfriend, J.T. Mclean, 45, in their murders and in the murders of Daniel and Pamela Stephan. Mclean, was found deceased in Dakota Dunes, SD, in a vehicle that he had stolen from the Stephan’s. His cause of death was from a self-inflicted gunshot wound by a.45 caliber pistol.

Allison and Jozee Abitz

Allison Abitz was a second-grade teacher at Bush Elementary School/Fulton 58 Public School District. Friends described her as a “beloved staff member, exemplary teacher and loving mother” and they described her daughter, Jozee, as a “kind, talented and caring individual who was a friend to all.” The school district further shared that Jozee was a member of the Columbia Acro and Tumbling Team for the six years prior to her death. They lived in a neighborhood of nicer homes.

On August 22, 2021, a family member made a request to local police for a welfare check for Abitz and her daughter, after repeatedly trying to get a hold of them without success. Police arrived at their home on Lavender Drive and discovered both deceased. Allison Abitz had been strangled and Jozee Abitz had been drowned in a bathtub. Upon learning of the Abitz deaths, the Bush Elementary School, the Fulton 58 Public School District, and the greater community banded together to offer grief support and services to anyone who would need it.

Initially, no clues were discovered who committed the crime. Investigators learned that Allison’s long-time boyfriend, J.T. Mclean, had a history of domestic violence and could not be located. All the family’s vehicles were accounted for, so initially investigators were perplexed, that is until they learned Mclean had recently purchased a motorcycle that still had not been transferred into his name.

Daniel and Pamela Stephan

Daniel Stephan, 74, and his wife, Pamela Stephan, 64, of Kaiser, MO were found murdered in their Kaiser home in Miller County, Missouri. Police were requested to do a welfare check on the elderly couple when a friend stated they could not reach them, which was extremely out of character for the couple. The reported cause of death for both the husband and wife was a gunshot wound to the head. Additional evidence discovered in the home was two bullet fragments and spent bullet casings, a cell phone, a tablet and a small thatch of victim’s hair. Investigators also discovered an abandoned motorcycle in the wooded area behind the victim’s home. Miller County authorities contacted Boone County authorities to notify them they had potential information on their double homicide case. Police discovered that the Stephan’s were relatives of one of Mclean’s ex-wives and one of the Stephan’s vehicles was missing. 

J.T. Mclean

Not a lot is known about J.T. Mclean. He had two prior “protection from abuse” orders filed against him by his ex-wife. They had been divorced for several years and she had re-married. At one time, Mclean had made threats against his ex-wife’s new husband, threatening to stab him in the face.

The Boone County Missouri issued A warrant Prosecuting Attorney for J.T. Mclean on August 25, 2021. Prosecutors charged him with two counts of murder in the first degree for the deaths of Allison and Jozee Abitz. The 13th Judicial Circuit, Boone County Missouri, set the bail for $1million dollars cash.

In the initial warrant, Mclean was reported to be an over-the-road truck driver with ties to Las Vegas; Chicago; St. Peter, MN; Columbia, MO; and Fulton, MO. Mclean was described as a male, approximately 5′ 9″ tall, 210 pounds with green eyes and brown hair. Investigators learned he had a few aliases’; John McLean, Steven Nagy and Stephen McLean. They also learned that he shared a house with his brother in Callaway County, MO. When they searched Mclean’s residence, they discovered a burn pile that contained various cell phones and computers.

At the time that the warrant was issued, authorities contacted Mclean’s ex-wife in South Dakota. They did the same with a few of Stephan’s extended family members that also lived in South Dakota. They were all moved to safer locations as a precaution until Mclean could be located.

Mclean Is Found

Investigators spotted Mclean on security video driving the newer missing vehicle that belonged to Daniel and Pamela Stephan. Fortunately, the vehicle contained the OnStar system, a vehicle service option. OnStar personnel could ping the vehicle for its location and remotely disable the vehicle. The vehicle was located in a motel parking lot in Dakota Dunes, SD, just outside of Sioux City, SD. Officers responded to the scene. A person was identified as being in the vehicle but would not comply with officers’ instructions to exit. Following the highest security measures, officers deployed a drone to observe the vehicle at a closer distance. The drone captured a deceased male in the vehicle. Investigators served an expedited search warrant on the vehicle where Mclean was confirmed to have died from a self-inflicted gunshot wound from a.45 caliber handgun. 

According to a search warrant, contents of the vehicle included a.45 caliber handgun, a spent.45 caliber shell casing, a length of white cord, a men’s belt, two rubber straps, a wooden cross and a flashlight which all contained traces of blood. In addition, investigators also found a rangefinder scope, men’s clothing and a “green backpack with cans of tuna, crystal orb and toiletries.” A short, scribbled note was located; forensics confirmed Mclean wrote it, although no mention or explanation of his crimes were noted. Police have never released the note has never been released.

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