JOPLIN, Mo. (AP) — A man charged in the rape and murder of his 9-year-old stepdaughter told investigators he took part in the crimes, according to court filings.

Barry County prosecutor Johnnie Cox declined Monday to call David Spears' statement a confession, saying that the term can be vague and misleading.

Spears, 25, and his friend Chris Collings, 32, are charged with first-degree murder, forcible rape and statutory rape in the death of Rowan Ford. Her body was found Friday in a southwestern Missouri cave about 10 miles south of her home in the village of Stella.

After Rowan disappeared Nov. 2, Spears had said he had gone out with friends and left the girl alone that night while her mother worked. He was arrested Friday after Collings turned himself in earlier that day and confessed, authorities said.