Home Wrongful Death Lawsuits Judge dismisses lawsuit in Amanda Jones case | Local News

Judge dismisses lawsuit in Amanda Jones case | Local News

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A wrongful death lawsuit filed by Amanda Jones’ family members against a man they suspect of killing the young woman more than 17 years ago has been dismissed, court records show.

On Sept. 7, Jefferson County Div. 4 Circuit Judge Brenda Stacey granted a motion to dismiss the lawsuit without prejudice. The motion was filed by lawyers representing Bryan Lee Westfall, who had been identified as a person of interest in the case before he died in December 2021.

Because the suit was dismissed without prejudice, it can be refiled.

“I think the judge made the correct decision based on the law,” said Westfall’s lawyer, Kevin Roberts of the Roberts, Wooten and Zimmer law firm of Hillsboro.

Jones’ parents, Hubert and Bertha Propst, and Jones’ daughter, Hannah Jones, who is in her 20s but was 4 when her mother disappeared, filed the lawsuit against Westfall in October 2021.

Westfall, 53, of Hillsboro died Dec. 7, 2021, after suffering what appeared to be a stroke.

Bertha Propst said she and her family, who all live in Crystal City, were disappointed to see the lawsuit dismissed.

“It has just been one hurdle after another,” she said. “All we have faced the last 17 years is hurdles.”

Bertha Propst said the family’s lawyer, Daniel Zdrodowski, is going to look into possibly refiling the lawsuit.

Zdrodowski did not return a phone call for comment.

The lawsuit alleged Westfall murdered Jones, who was 26 and pregnant with her second child at the time, and then concealed her death by preventing investigators from searching his farm, providing inconsistent statements to police and false statements about his actions on the date Jones disappeared.

The investigation into Jones’ disappearance has remained open, and last year, Jefferson County Sheriff Dave Marshak said his department had been working on the case with the Missouri Attorney General’s Office Cold Case Unit.

Marshak said investigators had gone to Westfall’s girlfriend’s parents’ home on Dec. 6, 2021, to interview them and let them know that they would be reaching out to Westfall’s girlfriend and that Westfall was going to be charged by the Missouri Attorney General’s Office.

Kim Rensing, who is listed as co-counsel for Westfall in the wrongful death lawsuit, said in her motion to dismiss the case that “Mr. Westfall vehemently and repeatedly denied any knowledge of or involvement in Amanda Jones’ disappearance.”

She also said that after “years-long extensive and intrusive investigation,” no evidence was found to support criminal charges against Westfall and that the statute of limitations for filing a wrongful death suit had passed.

In Missouri, the statute of limitations for wrongful death lawsuits is three years.

“Despite the plaintiffs’ speculations to the contrary, no evidence has ever been discovered or provided to make any sufficient connection to support any criminal charges against Mr. Westfall regarding Amanda Jones’ disappearance and purported death,” Rensing said in a court filing on March 21. “Nothing has occurred in the last 16 years to change that fact. If the plaintiffs were so convinced of the cause of Amanda Jones’ death, they should have filed a claim for wrongful death by Aug. 14, 2008, three years after the accrual of the cause.”

Zdrodowski argued in an April 22 court filing that Westfall’s “misdeeds” should not have allowed him him and his attorneys from seeking the dismissal based on the three-year statute of limitations because “his wrongdoing caused that defense to become available.”

In the filing, Zdrodowski said because the state does not presume a missing person dead until five years after their disappearance, a wrongful death suit could not be filed until after the three-year statute of limitations had expired.

Jones’ parents have said that in August 2005 their daughter went to the Hillsboro Community Civic Center to meet Westfall to confront him about the baby she was carrying because he had denied the child was his.

She was pregnant with a boy, who was to be named Hayden.

Police later found Jones’ unlocked and abandoned car parked at the civic center. Inside, they found her keys, but her purse was not there.

In 2019, Marshak said a partial search of Westfall’s Hillsboro property was conducted in 2005 with Westfall’s lawyer present. He also said Westfall was interviewed in 2005, but after that Westfall’s attorney denied requests from the Sheriff’s Office to talk to his client.

In 2014, the Federal Bureau of Investigation announced it had new information in the case but would not elaborate. Soon afterward, the FBI announced a $20,000 reward for information leading to the discovery of what became of Jones and her baby.

Anyone with information about Jones is asked to contact the FBI in St. Louis at 314-589-2500 or online at tips.fbi.gov. Or, they may call the Sheriff’s Office Detective Bureau at 636-797-5515.

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