Body Of 21-Year-Old Who Went Missing After Her Uncle Picked Her Up Found Buried In Barn

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Brianna Lyman News and Commentary Writer
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The body of a 21-year-old girl who went missing more than a month ago in Missouri was found June 18.

Jessi Wilfong was reported missing May 25 by her mother and was last seen alive days earlier on May 19 when she was captured on surveillance footage arriving at the home of her uncle, Lawrence Schanda, and his 59-year-old girlfriend Teresa Baumgartner, Fox 3 Now reported.

The Cape Girardeau County Sheriff’s office immediately launched an investigation into her disappearance, with authorities issuing a search warrant June 15 at a residence. Authorities suspected “from the evidence collected and other information” that “foul play was involved” in Wilfong’s disappearance.

During the investigation, “information led deputies to a location in close proximity to the previously searched residence,” on June 18, according to the sheriff’s office.

“Subsequent investigation revealed the site of a recently dug portion of ground inside of a barn structure,” the sheriff’s office said. “Excavation of the area revealed the remains of Jessi Wilfong.”

An autopsy later confirmed Wilfong’s death as a homicide.

Court documents said that law enforcement suspects that Schanda and Baumgartner are likely responsible for disposing of Wilfong’s body, according to Fox 3 Now. Authorities say Schanda and Baumgartner picked up Wilfong from her residence, according to the report.

Baumgartner reportedly said Wilfong asked the couple to return her back to her home but they refused, with Baumgartner saying Wilfong must’ve snuck out after everyone went to sleep. (RELATED: Police Arrest Juvenile Suspect In Murder Of 10-Year-Old Girl Found Dead In Woods)

Baumgartner has been charged with Tampering with Physical Evidence in a Felony Investigation, though other charges could be added, according to authorities.