CAMDEN COUNTY, Mo. — Worried she might lose custody of her children, Leigh Ann Bauman paid $1,500 to try and eliminate the woman she saw as the reason for that threat, according to the probable cause document for Bauman’s arrest and charging.
Bauman, a well-known real estate agent at Lake of the Ozarks, is facing a Class C Felony charge of Conspiracy To Commit Murder. If convicted, she would spend 3–10 years in prison.
The court document reveals the contents of the recorded conversation brought to law enforcement by the individual Bauman allegedly hired to kill her ex-mother-in-law. It also portrays a bizarre scene in which Bauman told investigators in her home that she was being set up, showed them her latest furniture refinishing projects, made a phone call to Lake Ozark Mayor Gerry Murawski, left for a botox appointment, and came back to finish the interview.
According to the probable cause document, investigators who knocked on Bauman’s door on Thursday, March 4, had clear evidence that Bauman had plotted to kill her ex-mother-in-law.
A woman came to Missouri State Highway Patrol investigators on March 3 saying Bauman had hired her two days prior. The woman told investigators Bauman had approached her on March 1, saying her children had refused to go with her when she went to pick them up, and she felt her ex-mother-in-law was the problem. Bauman reportedly texted at least one of her daughters, saying their grandmother would be dead. When the children’s father asked Bauman about this, according to the document, she said she just meant his mother was old and was going to die. After Bauman relayed this encounter to the witness who reported it to the Patrol, Bauman reportedly asked her, “Do you know anybody?”
The woman thought Bauman was referencing purchasing marijuana, according to the document, but Bauman replied, “No, I want a hitman, somebody to get rid of her.” The witness reportedly said she knew some people in St. Louis who could do the job.
That night, according to the document, the witness said she could not sleep and considered calling Bauman’s ex-mother-in-law to warn her, but worried the woman might call local law enforcement, whom she believed Bauman had a political connection with. The next evening, March 2, the witness says Bauman asked the woman to come over. The witness recorded the conversation she had with Bauman, which, authorities say, was hard to hear but depicted Bauman emphasizing that she wanted her ex-mother-in-law to be killed and would get the money to pay for it. Bauman was reportedly on the phone with a man on speaker-phone while the witness was at her house, and Bauman spoke to the man about “the plan” still being on, according to the witness’ testimony. The witness reportedly called her attorney at that time and told him Bauman was trying to give her money for the planned hit.
The next day, March 3, Bauman reportedly spoke on the phone with the witness again, discussing further the plan to kill her ex-mother-in-law.
On March 4, Missouri State Highway Patrol investigators showed up at Bauman’s home. Bauman told them she was glad to see them and invited them inside, the trooper who wrote the document explained, but when they told her why they were there, she reportedly interrupted them and began showing them the furniture she was refinishing.
“When I told Bauman why we were there, she gasped and blamed everything on the witness,” the trooper wrote. Bauman reportedly said the witness was a “hustler” who had come up with the plan to kill the woman herself and was just trying to get money from Bauman. “During the interview Bauman was hard to keep on topic,” the trooper added.
When the trooper told Bauman he knew she was not being honest, she asked if she needed a lawyer, the document states. She then reportedly called one phone number, and did not receive an answer, and then called Lake Ozark Mayor Gerry Murawksi. The trooper says Murawski told her to tell the truth and she would be fine.
The interview took an odd turn. Bauman handed the trooper her phone and said he could look through it, the document states, but then refused to give the trooper her pin number to access the phone. She reportedly asked for the phone back, but the trooper said he would be taking it as evidence. She then left the interview to go receive a Botox injection, but not before reportedly telling the trooper he needed to speak with the witness, and saying she would be back at 2:30 p.m.
Bauman reportedly returned at 2:50 p.m. The trooper says he informed her about what the witness had told investigators and about the audio recording of the conversation she had with the witness, urging Bauman to be honest and explain the entire event again. “Bauman again talked extensively about things that had nothing to do with why we were speaking to her, and talked very briefly about the incident,” the trooper said. Bauman reportedly denied agreeing to get $1,500 from the bank, the day before, but the trooper told her he know that was a lie and she said she had had a couple of glasses of wine and did not necessarily remember, the document states.
Noting Bauman’s ties to multiple states and finances, her statement after her arrest that she would be getting out very shortly, and her connection to local political figures, the trooper filed the probable cause document. Bauman is being held without bond, and a family member of the ex-mother-in-law told the trooper she is being kept in a place where she is safe and her whereabouts are unknown.