THE wife and stepson of a Ku Klux Klan leader who was found fatally shot over the weekend have been charged in his murder.

Malissa Ann Ancona, 44, and Paul Edward Jinkerson Jr., 24, were charged with first-degree murder, tampering with physical evidence and abandonment of a corpse in connection with the death of Frank Ancona, 51, whose body was found Saturday near the Big River by a family fishing near Belgrade, about 110km south-west of St. Louis.

Before the charges were laid, the son of the notorious white supremacist pointed the finger of blame at his stepmother in an extraordinary Facebook post.

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Frank Ancona was the self-crowned Imperial Wizard of the Traditional American Knights of the Ku Klux Klan.

He had been shot once in the head, execution-style, according to preliminary results of a post mortem examination.

While Ancona’s role as leader of one of the most reviled organisations in modern history ensured there was no shortage of people who wanted him dead, it was the behaviour of his loved ones that attracted the curiosity of detectives.

Leadwood is an almost exclusively white town of around 1800 people, most of whom live below the poverty line, where the Klansman regularly burned crosses in his backyard and enjoyed something close to celebrity status.

It was common knowledge that the seven-year marriage between Ancona and his wife Malissa had been rocky for months and their adult sons from previous relationships did not get along.

Ancona was reported missing on Friday, February 10 by his employer, who “reached out” to police with concerns that he hadn’t shown up for work for several days.

Leadwood Police Chief William Dickey said Malissa told his officers that she had last seen her husband on Wednesday morning.

He’d packed up all his guns and set off between 8.30am and 9am after his boss rang to send him on a job.

“His wife, Malissa, has stated he got a call from his workplace and he needed to drive across the state to deliver a part, which is what he does for a living, he delivers vehicle parts,” Chief Dickey told local paper the Daily Journal, which published a bizarre report that makes no mention of Ancona’s KKK link.