Frank Ancona, the self-proclaimed “Imperial Wizard” of a Ku Klux Klan chapter in Leadwood near St. Louis, was found dead on Saturday morning near a Missouri river.
Ancona, 51, declared missing on Friday, was last seen on Wednesday leaving his home in Leadwood near St. Louis, carrying a bag packed for a trip. According to his wife Malissa, Ancona left home, saying his employers called and asked him to make an out-of-state delivery. But his employers denied the story, saying they never asked Ancona to make an out-of-state delivery.
His employers reported him missing on Friday after he failed to show up for work for two days.
Malissa said Ancona had not made contact with his family after he packed a bag, took his guns and left home in his car on Wednesday, according to the Daily Journal.
KKK imperial wizard Frank Ancona is found dead in Missouri https://t.co/4BemR4DqvL
— JJ MacNab (@jjmacnab) February 12, 2017
His body was later spotted outside Belgrade in south central Washington County, Missouri, on Saturday, by a family on a fishing trip near Big River in rural Missouri.
Police had earlier found his car on Friday near the spot where his body was eventually found in Washington County. They were still searching for Ancona when the family reported that they spotted his body near the bank of the Big River.
“We processed the scene and the body was transported by the Washington County Coroner’s office for an autopsy to determine a cause of death,” Zach Jacobsen, the Sheriff of Washington County, said.
Jacobsen confirmed that the body found by Big River was Ancona.
“The body was positively identified as Frank Ancona and his family was notified.”
So far, I'm not seeing the problem here.
Frank Ancona, KKK Imperial Wizard, Found Dead in a Missouri River https://t.co/DyCV5jaAsq
— Jonathan Law (@walnoj) February 12, 2017
Police also said that an autopsy to determine the cause of death would be conducted.
According to Jacobsen, his department learned that Ancona was missing from a Facebook post by his son, Frank Jr. In the Facebook post on Thursday evening, Frank said he had not heard from his father since he left home on Wednesday.
“This isn’t like my dad,” he wrote.
Ancona is the leader of a KKK faction, the Traditionalist American Knights. The website of the group, described as a hate group, features Ancona, the “Imperial Wizard,” standing in front of a burning cross in traditional KKK garb.
Blessings come on Sundays:KKK leader Frank Ancona found dead near Missouri river after going missing – NY Daily News https://t.co/gOAl0foADO
— Tariq Nasheed (@tariqnasheed) February 12, 2017
He appeared on MSNBC soon after the police shooting of African-American Michael Brown in Fergusson, threatening that KKK members would use “lethal force” against Fergusson protesters, according to NY Daily News.
“I believe in racial separation but it doesn’t have to be violent,” he told CNN earlier in 2014. “People in the Klan are professional people, business people, working types. We are a legitimate organization.”
He was also reportedly named in a 2013 lawsuit filed by the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) against the city of Desloge in Missouri. The ACLU complained in the lawsuit that the city authorities allowed Ancona’s KKK group to distribute watch leaflet in residential areas, according to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.
Police have so far not named a suspect in Ancona’s death but they questioned his wife on account of a message she posted to her Facebook page on the day that her husband went missing that she was seeking a roommate.
She told investigators that she posted the message because Ancona was planning to file for a divorce when he returned and she realized she would need a roommate to cover the rent.
Investigators also found a safe inside the house that had been smashed open with a crowbar and its contents removed. But Leadwood Police Chief William Dickey said police investigators did not suspect a burglary.
All of Ancona’s firearms were also missing from the house, save for the one that Ancona usually carried around with him, which his wife turned over to the police, saying that he left it in the house.
However, a neighbor reportedly insisted that Ancona would never have taken all his guns from the house.
Ancona’s Traditionalist American Knights was denounced by a local rival faction, the Loyal White Knights, in 2014.
According to Robert Jones, the leader of the Loyal White Knights, Ancona was a “fake” Klansman because he was Jewish.
“This guy’s group, the Traditionalist American Knights, ain’t even been around three years,” Jones told the New Lenox Patch. “Frank Ancona is also Jewish and his wife is Jewish and he’s being exposed all through the Klan world as a fake, and he ain’t even white and you can actually look his family tree up which we’ve got his family tree which we can give y’all too and you can post it.”
[Featured Image by Eric-Paul-Pierre Pasquier/Getty Images]