Wife, cousin of missing man charged with complicity to murder

James Starrett
James Starrett

The wife and a cousin of a missing Harlan County man have been charged with complicity to commit murder, according to Kentucky State Police.

Melissa Starrett, 47, and James Starrett, 42, both of Lejunior, were charged Wednesday after detectives determined that they tried to buy a firearm to hurt or kill someone, police said. They also were charged with receiving stolen property, the firearm.

Police already were investigating the disappearance of Hershel Starrett, 58, who was reported missing Dec. 22. Police said the victim in the cases against Melissa and James Starrett was not Hershel Starrett.

Both were being held in the Harlan County jail Wednesday. Melissa Starrett’s bond was set at $100,000 full cash. A bond of $100,000 full cash was pending for James Starrett.

On Dec. 24, police and the Harlan County Rescue Squad began searching for Hershel Starrett and were unable to find him, police said.

Anyone with information on the whereabouts of Starrett can call state police Post 10 Harlan at 606-573-3131 and can remain anonymous.