Body of Missouri woman found buried in barn weeks after leaving home with uncle and his girlfriend

Body of Missouri woman found buried in barn weeks after leaving home with uncle and his girlfriend

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The body of a Missouri woman reported missing more than a month ago has been found.

The Cape Girardeau County Sheriff’s Office announced that after deputies executed a search warrant at a home, they investigated a nearby barn where on June 18, they found the body of 21-year-old Jessi Wilfong buried. According to a press release, the ground where she had been buried appeared to be “recently dug.”

“On June 20, 2022, an autopsy was performed on Jessi Wilfong’s body. The autopsy findings indicated Wilfong’s cause of death was a homicide,” the sheriff’s office said in a statement on the findings.

According to local FOX3, investigators believe that Wilfong’s uncle, Lawrence Schanda, and his girlfriend, Teresa Baumgartner, are responsible for burying Wilfong’s body. The two had reportedly picked Wilfong up from a home where she had been staying, despite her asking them to bring her back there.

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Jessi Wilfong was reported missing on May 25, 2022. Her body was found buried in a barn on June 18, 2022

Jessi Wilfong was reported missing on May 25, 2022. Her body was found buried in a barn on June 18, 2022 (Cape Girardeau County Sheriff’s Office)

On June 8, authorities questioned Schanda, who reportedly told them that Wilfong had given police information tying him to illegal drug activity. 

Schanda has not been charged with any crimes at this time, but Baumgartner currently faces a charge of tampering with physical evidence in a felony case — a Class E felony punishable by up to four years in prison.

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Teresa Baumgartner has been charged with tampering with physical evidence in connection with the investigation of the disappearance of Jessi Wilfong

Teresa Baumgartner has been charged with tampering with physical evidence in connection with the investigation of the disappearance of Jessi Wilfong (Cape Girardeau County Sheriff’s Office)

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Records show that Baumgartner remains in custody without bond since being apprehended on June 21. Her attorney requested that she be released on her own recognizance, but a judge denied the request. Baumgartner’s next court date is scheduled for July 22.

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