Newton County Sheriff's Department is investigating a body found in a driveway on Highway V early Friday morning.

The Newton County Sheriff’s Department is investigating a body found in a driveway on Route V early Friday morning.

“About 7:30 a.m. [Friday], we get a call to a possible deceased person at 13314 Highway V,” Newton County Sheriff Ken Copeland said. “We get there, find a body of a young man, lying in the driveway. The homeowners discovered the body when they came out this morning, the deceased is unknown to them. But through tattoos and jail photographs, we were able to identify the victim.”

The victim was identified Saturday as Dennis Meyer, 30, of Joplin, Copeland said Meyer was a member of the Joplin Honkeys gang, and was well known to area law enforcement officials.

Meyer was most recently faced felony theft charges in Jasper County stemming from a March 30 incident. He was to have appeared in Jasper County Division V Circuit Court Sept. 15 for a hearing.

In Newton County, Meyer most recently faced a charge of third-degree assault, a Class A misdemeanor. He was to have been arraigned last Wednesday on that charge.

Copeland said a preliminary autopsy report indicated there was no physical wounds to the body, no knife or gunshot wounds. He said authorities are now awaiting toxicology reports which could indicate the cause of Meyer’s death.

“It appears that somebody just backed up there and dumped the body out of the car,” the sheriff said.

Copeland said Meyer had “Joplin Honkeys” tattooed on his back, and also had the numbers “417” tattooed on his body. The number represents the Joplin telephone area code and denotes membership in the gang.

Copeland said the case may be related to a shooting early Monday morning.
At about 5 a.m. Monday, deputies were dispatched to the 3500 area of Cherry Road. There, they found 44-year-old Tommy Webb with two gunshot wounds, one in the stomach, the other in a leg.

Webb gave deputies three different accounts of how he was shot. First, he told authorities he had picked up a hitchhiker, who shot him. Another version was he was shot by an unknown person or persons while he was walking in the woods. A third version was someone approached his vehicle and he was shot while in the car.

Webb is also a member of the Joplin Honkeys gang, Copeland said.

Managing Editor John Ford contributed to this report.