A man accused of leaving a 9-year-old Missouri girl to die in a wildlife area after snatching her from her bus stop and sexually abusing her was sentenced Thursday to life in prison without parole.

ST. CHARLES — A man accused of leaving a 9-year-old Missouri girl to die in a wildlife area after snatching her from her bus stop and sexually abusing her was sentenced Thursday to life in prison without parole.

Earl W. Cox, 63, was sentenced after pleading guilty in St. Charles County Court to first-degree sexual abuse and first-degree murder in the death of Angie Housman, of St. Ann., the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reported.

Cox, who was a convicted pedophile before Angie was killed, was not arrested  until 2019, when he was matched to DNA found on the girl's clothing.

Prosecutors said Angie was taken from her bus stop in November 1993. She was starved, handcuffed, sexually assaulted and left with duct tape covering her eyes and mouth in the Busch Wildlife Area in St. Charles County. 

A hunter found her body nine days after she disappeared. Investigators believe the girl was alive until just hours before she was found.

Cox was convicted in 2003 of administering an international online child pornography network. He was deemed a sexually dangerous person and incarcerated in North Carolina.

In 1982, Cox was dishonorably discharged from the Air Force and convicted of molesting four girls while stationed at a base in Germany. He was released in 1985 but sent back to prison in 1992 after he was arrested on suspicion of inappropriate contact with two girls in Overland, Missouri.

Cox was released from prison 11 months before Angie disappeared.