Belton woman dies after being shot, left in rural ditch in Miami County on New Year’s Day


A 41-year-old woman found on New Year’s Day in a Miami County ditch suffering from a gunshot wound has died, the sheriff said.

Jennifer Christine Rodriguez, of Belton, died in a hospital late Tuesday afternoon, two days after being taken there by emergency medical personnel from rural Paola, the Miami County Sheriff’s Department said in a statement Wednesday.

At around 7:30 p.m. on Sunday, sheriff’s department deputies were sent to a call near 299th Street and Somerset Road for a person in the ditch — later identified as Rodriguez. Investigators on the scene identified 36-year-old John R. Gray as a suspect in the shooting.

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Authorities allege Gray and Rodriguez left Gray’s home in Grandview on Sunday and drove to Miami County, where the shooting took place. Authorities suspect Rodriguez was shot while in Gray’s white pickup.

After the shooting, Gray allegedly got Rodriguez out of his vehicle and left her in the ditch before driving home.

On Tuesday, Grandview police found Gray dead at his residence from an apparent self-inflicted gunshot wound. Police also towed his pickup from the driveway to be examined by forensic investigators.

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The Miami County Police Department continued its investigation into the shooting Wednesday.