On May 28, a Jefferson County woman whom we'll call Sarah pulled her car into the driveway of her house on Lake Drive in Cedar Hill. Her house looks out over Lake Adelle, a fishing spot with a few dozen homes built around it. Some of the lawns in the neighborhood are littered with old barrels and rusted car parts, but the place is not without its charm. In addition to fishing, the water is good for floating on an inner tube or paddling a raft around. That Friday, as Sarah got out of her car, her 36-year-old neighbor Anthony Legens came out of his house and rushed toward her.
"Come on over to my place. I want you to be my girlfriend and buy you things," Legens said, according to Sarah's father. "I'll take care of you. Nobody will ever hurt you. Come on over."
Legens cut an intimidating figure. A thicket of tattoos covered his hulking chest and arms. The words "white power" were inked in block letters across his stomach.
Sarah had reason to be wary beyond the bizarre nature of the manic appeal. Detectives had been up and down Lake Drive over the past several weeks inquiring as to the whereabouts of a missing man, 36-year-old Jerry Crew, reportedly last seen at Legens' home. The police had even asked to look at the footage from the security cameras mounted on the house where Sarah lived in the hopes that it might prove their suspicion that Crew had entered Legens' place but never exited. According to one neighbor, Legens had kept the "routine of a vampire" since returning from jail in 2020, sleeping all day and running loud power tools in his house all night. Thoroughly freaked out, Sarah ran to a neighbor's house and hid there as the night unfolded in dramatic fashion.
Before sunset, deputies from the Jefferson County Sheriff's Office were on the scene. An armored SWAT team vehicle parked outside Legens' house. The sheriff's office later said that "once the deputies arrived" Legens opened fire, shooting at police vehicles and deputies, striking one below his tactical vest. (The deputy was rushed to the hospital and has recovered.) The deputies pulled the front door off Legens' house and, according to neighbors, threw flash bangs and tear gas inside. Several hours after opening fire, Legens attempted to escape out of a side window. A deputy shot him before he could get away, and Legens died just over the property line on Sarah's skinny side yard.
Inside the house, deputies found a dead body, but it didn't belong to Jerry Crew.
Crew's mother, Dana Crew, watched coverage of the shootout on the news that night. Her son and Legens were cousins; Dana Crew is Legens' aunt. Since reporting her son missing on April 22, Crew had been going to Lake Drive "two or three times a day," begging the sheriff's office to arrest her nephew and search his house, she says.
After the Friday night shootout, a sheriff's spokesman reported the body belonged to a woman. She had apparently been dead long before Legens' final showdown with SWAT officers. Confirming her identity took several days, but investigators were eventually able to use dental records to officially identify her as Tanya Gould, a 31-year-old who had grown up just on the other side of Lake Adelle.
Crew, watching this all unfold from home, was now even angrier at the sheriff's office. In her opinion, they'd bungled the search for her son. Now she felt like they let this 31-year-old woman die because of their inaction. "For weeks, I kept trying to tell them that Anthony has weapons in there, he's selling drugs, and he's a convicted felon. So why couldn't they get a warrant to go in there?" Crew says. "But they waited until the guy killed the girl in there, and then they go in."
Crew is correct that sheriff's deputies didn't go into Legens' house until after Gould was killed, but it wasn't for lack of trying. Detectives had been surveilling the house for weeks. Sheriff David Marshak said they'd gotten "search warrants for some technology" but couldn't get a warrant to enter the house. According to Marshak, investigators had "numerous conversations with the Prosecuting Attorney's Office about the evidence they had obtained," but time and again it was deemed insufficient to enter Legens' house. (Prosecutors didn't respond to requests for comment for this story.)
"Well, it's too late now," Dana says. "Because the two people that knew where my son was are both deceased."
"What the hell have you done?"
Dana Crew says that, growing up, her son was "a great kid, a wonderful kid. He would give you the shirt off his back. He would do without to give to somebody else."
In 2005, twenty years old at the time, Jerry Crew had a child with a woman named Tiffany, and though they separated, the two remained friends.
While living in south St. Louis in the mid-aughts, Crew committed a series of minor crimes. Then, in 2009, robbery and armed criminal action convictions landed him in prison for a little more than decade. While incarcerated, he developed diabetes and was diagnosed with Crohn's disease, which eventually caused him to require a colostomy bag.
Crew was released from prison in October 2020, and two days later he overdosed, according to a post he made on Facebook. Then in December he had to be hospitalized for issues related to his diabetes.
Crew's mother said her son seemed lost. "So much had changed in the years he'd been locked up," she says. "I kept telling him it's not like it used to be, it's not like it used to be."She took him to get a driver's license and showed him how to use a smartphone. She helped him set up a Facebook account so he could reach out to old friends.
In 2021, he moved in with his cousin at Lake Adelle.
While living at Legens', he messaged Ashley Pound, a woman whom Facebook suggested he might know. In retrospect, Pound says, Crew was probably hitting on her. She told him that she was related to his baby's mother, so that sort of relationship probably wasn't in the cards. But the two kept chatting and quickly became friends.
"He was always fun," Pound says. "He was carefree. He brought everybody's spirits up wherever he was. He always tried to make you feel better if you were upset."
Crew was nothing if not social. Even while locked up he called his mother at least every other day. If he didn't have anything in particular to say, he still wanted to know what she was up to. While living with Legens he messaged Pound daily. The messages were always lighthearted. He sent her a video of a large pizza delivery that had come to the house. "Come eat some pizza!" he exclaimed. In another message he tried to hook Pound up with Legens.
"I'm glad I didn't go through with that," Pound says.
Then, on April 22, both she and his mother stopped hearing from him.
A few days later, Dana Crew had grown increasingly worried and went to the house on Lake Drive where she says she found Legens and a woman outside on the front lawn.
"Where's my son?" Crew asked.
"Oh, at some chick's house," Legens replied.
Crew asked, "What chick?"
Legens said he didn't know.
"Why's his car here?" Crew said. "That doesn't even make sense."
She noticed that the woman with Legens looked withdrawn and wore a long-sleeve hoodie even though the temperature was hot. "I know she was covering up bruises," Crew says now.