A 21-year-old woman who disappeared in May was found buried in a Missouri barn.
Jessi Wilfong was reported missing by her mother, Kathy Wilfong, on May 25 – nearly a week after she last saw her daughter at her Millersville residence on May 19.
Jessi allegedly met up with her uncle, Lawrence Schanda, and his girlfriend, Teresa L. Baumgartner, 59, on the evening she was last seen by her mom, Kathy revealed on The Lawless Files podcast.
Surveillance footage from a neighbor captured Jessi arriving at her uncle’s home and never leaving, according to her mother.
Jessi’s phone died the night she went missing, Kathy said. As time passed, she knew something was wrong when her daughter didn’t update her social media platforms, which she found ‘weird.’
According to a probable-cause statement filed by Det. Jaime Holloway, undisclosed information led investigators at Cape Girardeau County Sheriff’s Office to a residence in the county belonging to Baumgartner and Schanda on June 15, The Southeast Missourian reported.
At the home investigators found that carpet from the living room had been removed, KFVS News reported.
‘From the evidence collected and other information obtained from the investigative process, it was suspected that foul play was involved in the disappearance of Ms. Wilfong,’ Sheriff Ruth Ann Dickerson wrote in a news release.
On June 18, deputies were led to a barn ‘in close proximity’ to the residence of Baumgartner. Investigators found a portion of the ground recently tampered – where Jessi’s remains were later discovered.
Her death was ruled a homicide two days later.
Baumgartner was arrested on June 21 in connection with Jessi’s disappearance and charged with tampering with physical evidence in a felony investigation. An auger rented by Baumgartner of May 24 was found in the barn.
Schanda, meanwhile, hasn’t been arrested or charged in connection with the case. He did, however, tell officers on June 8 that he had gotten into a verbal altercation with his niece on May 19 after she allegedly provided law enforcement with information about his illegal drug activity.
The investigation is ongoing.