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Authorities close to identifying Tebbetts body

Authorities close to identifying Tebbetts body

April 17th, 2018 by Helen Wilbers in Local News

The Callaway County Sheriff's Office began an investigation March 30 into human remains discovered somewhere along County Road 486. Little information has been made public about the investigation's discoveries so far, though Sheriff Clay Chism said he'll release the body's identity once that information is available.

Photo by Helen Wilbers /News Tribune.

TEBBETTS, Mo. — Law enforcement authorities said they are close to identifying a body found March 30 near Tebbetts.

"Sheriff's office investigators are working diligently on a recent lead," Callaway County Sheriff Clay Chism said Monday. "We are very hopeful to have a confirmed identity soon, given investigative developments over the past few days."

When asked if the remains have been connected with any missing person cases, Chism said his office has "explored many possibilities," adding investigators have traveled to "various areas of the state" as part of the investigation.

The remains were found on a property along County Road 486 and were described as in an advanced state of decomposition. The Boone-Callaway County Medical Examiner's Office completed an initial examination of the remains April 2 but did not reach any final conclusions or announce a cause of death. A forensic anthropologist is continuing the examination.

"From past investigations, it is known forensic anthropology investigations can entail several months," Chism said.

He said his office has an estimate on how long the person had been deceased, but declined to release that information, citing a need to protect the investigation's integrity.

The investigation is being handled as a death investigation, not a murder investigation, he added.

"The death has not been officially classified as foul play by either the sheriff's office or medical examiner at this time," Chism said. "Further investigation, (such as) the medical examiner determining a cause and manner of death, will dictate any change of classification."

Chism said his office will release the identity of the remains as soon as a positive identification has been made and next-of-kin notified.

"While there is information I'd like to offer to the public now, it is imperative to not release precise information that would jeopardize the integrity of the investigation," he said. "I strive to be as transparent as possible, yet have to value the absolute need for an investigation to be conducted properly. I'd rather be patient and offer the public substantiated facts instead of offering unsubstantiated assumptions."