Convicted Murderer Faces Numerous Laclede County Charges

A 53-year-old Lebanon man is in the Laclede County Detention Center after being arrested for arson, burglary, possession of  stolen property, and felon in possession of a firearm. Rene Harvey, Jr., is currently being held in jail on a parole violation. Harvey was released from the Department of Corrections in November of 2022, after being sentenced to life in prison for the 1996 murder of a Camdenton woman. Harvey was 26 years old at the time of that conviction.

Harvey is a suspect in a burglary and arson that occurred Friday morning in the 37000 block of Dawn, located in the rural southeast part of the county. Harvey made contact with a caretaker of the home by entering a barn where the caretaker was working.  The barn is located 20 yards behind the house. He inquired about a trailer that had been on the property decades ago. He told the caretaker he had been in prison and been wrongly accused. After the male walked away, the caretaker became concerned because of the odd nature of the contact, she got in her car to get assistance from a nearby residence. She saw a light blue 1980s four-door car parked in from of the residence. After getting assistance she drove back to the house and found smoke coming from the house.

The victim was able to give an accurate description of Harvey and the vehicle he was driving. Deputies responding to the area immediately recognized the vehicle, and the description of the male matched a March 10, 2023, burglary on Miami Drive in Laclede County. The victim in that burglary had found the suspect had attempted to burn the house. Miami drive is located in the western part of the county.

A description of the vehicle was put out on NIXEL, an alert system used by the Laclede County Sheriff’s Office, describing the vehicle. The Sheriff’s Office received information that Harvey drove a similar vehicle, and the caller then gave the Sheriff’s Office a description of Harvey. The description by the NIXEL caller matched the description given by the victim.

At approximately 1:30 p.m., the Sheriff’s Office received a tip the vehicle was near the Sleeper exit. Troopers from the Missouri Highway Patrol located the vehicle near Parker Lane. Harvey was arrested, and during the search of his vehicle, jewelry from the burglary was recovered, as well as a firearm. The firearm was stolen from an acquittance of Harvey.

“We have recovered property from the Miami Drive burglary. There appears to be no connection between the two victims,” Sheriff David Millsap said. “This case came together quickly, the caretaker of the home gave us a really good description of the vehicle and of the person who had contacted her at the barn. We then got a solid tip from a citizen, who immediately recognized the description of the car. All of that led to a timely arrest,” Millsap added.

Harvey has not been charged in the burglaries, arsons and weapon case. “We will present a probable cause statement to the prosecutor’s office this weekend, while Harvey sits in jail on the parole warrant,” Sheriff David Millsap said.