On Sunday afternoon a body was found along the Mississippi River, just south of Hannibal. At a 3 p.m. press conference on Thursday, Marion County Sheriff Jimmy Shinn announced the body has still not been identified, and authorities are asking for the public's help. 

On Monday the body had been sent to Columbia for an autopsy.  Sheriff Shinn says the body is badly decomposed  to the point that the race of the victim could not be determined.  He said it is believed the body had been in the river for 3 to 5 days, and the warm water temperature hastened the decomposition process.  He would not speculate on how long the victim had been deceased prior to entering the water.  Shinn said he could not disclose what evidence points toward an act of homicide.

Shinn says officers are contacting various establishments from gas stations to bars to see if anyone recognizes the clothing and ring recovered from the victim.   He says they are working with the medical examiner to come up with some type of a sketch of what they believe the victim may have looked like.  It IS believed she was between 15 and 30 years of age, 135 pounds, height 5'3", and had shoulder-length dark hair.  Investigators are researching the brands of clothing to see if any leads can connect the victim to a particular store. He says the jeans may be from a JC Penney store and are a size 13-14.

Shinn says he believes the victim is not local, mainly because just about every missing person case in the area has been reviewed.

Shinn says the NEMO Major Case Squad comprised of over 40 officers from 14 area agencies are working on the case, and the area between southern Marion County and Ralls County has been combed by officers, both on land and even in the air, looking for any evidence or clues.

Anyone with potential information is asked to contact the Marion County Sheriff's Office at 573-769-2077.

Victim's Clothing and Ring, Marion Co. Sheriff's Dept. Photo