Missing Missouri Woman's Body Found Buried In A Barn; 59-Year-Old Woman Charged

Missing Missouri Woman's Body Found Buried In A Barn; 59-Year-Old Woman Charged


  • Wilfong was reported missing by her mother on May 24
  • Baumgartner faces charges of tampering physical evidence
  • Police said the investigation is open and more arrests are likely

The remains of a missing 21-year-old woman were found buried in a barn in Cape Girardeau County, Missouri. Jessi Wilfong was reported missing by her mother on May 24.

The Cape Girardeau County Sheriff's Office said a 59-year-old woman has been charged in connection with the incident. The Cape Girardeau County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office Wednesday charged Teresa L. Baumgartner with tampering with physical evidence, reported KMOV.

The Fredericktown Police Department was contacted by Wilfong’s mother last month about her missing. Her mother told officers that Wilfong was at a home in Fredericktown on May 19, and was picked up by her uncle. She was never seen again.

According to court documents, Baumgartner is in a relationship with Wilfong’s uncle and traveled with him to pick up Wilfong and bring her back to their home in Millersville. 

Though officers who investigated the disappearance questioned Baumgartner, she told police that she, along with Wilfong and her uncle, spent the night of May 19 "sitting around a bonfire at her residence drinking and talking."

However, Wilfong then asked the duo to take her back to Fredericktown, but they refused. Baumgartner maintained that they assumed Wilfong may have left after they went to bed. Baumgartner never reported Wilfong missing, said the court documents. 

The investigating team obtained a warrant on June 15 to search Baumgartner's home in Cape Girardeau County. They found the living room and hallway carpet, and its padding was removed. This prompted officers to suspect foul play. 

Three days later, deputies obtained information that led them to a spot near Baumgartner's home. That's when they noted the site of a recently dug portion of the ground inside a barn. Excavation of the area revealed the remains of Wilfong.

An autopsy was performed on June 20, which found the cause of death to be a homicide. According to court documents, investigators say Baumgartner and Wilfong’s uncle disposed of the woman's body together.

The officers did not divulge much about Wilfong's uncle. However, they said the investigation is still ongoing, and more people are likely to be charged. Baumgartner’s initial arraignment has been scheduled for Thursday morning.

Meanwhile, in another incident, the remains of a missing 56-year-old woman were found in a wooded area near the University of Washington. The King County Medical Examiner’s Office identified the woman but officials have not publicly released her name.  Reports said she was from Seattle and a homicide investigation has been opened. 

crime-scene-6490202_1920 Representation. Police cars. Photo: ArtisticOperations/Pixabay