Authorities believe remains are that of missing woman - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Authorities believe remains are that of missing Mt. Pleasant woman


Among public cries for help and prayer, family and friends had held out hope for the safe return of Jackie Douthart.

One year and one day after Douthart's disappearance, loved ones finally have an answer, but far from the one they were looking for.

"Several items including a ring, wristwatch and fingernails were recovered with the remains. These items have been identified by family members of those belonging to Jackie Douthart," said Special Agent Jeff Uhlmeyer with the Iowa Division of Criminal Investigation.

Investigators say the remains found in March off an old highway west of Mt. Pleasant are consistent with the description given for the missing 24-year-old mom.  Investigators believe Douthart died some time last summer or early fall.

But plenty of questions remain regarding the events leading up to Douthart's death.

Investigators say Douthart was last seen by a man she met just days before her disappearance in May of 2011.

In June, that man, Benjamin Biggs, led police on a high speed chase before shooting and killing himself inside a barricaded home in Quincy, Illinois. 

"Everyone involved clearly felt that we were on the correct path with the person that we zeroed down," Uhlmeyer said.

Police suspect foul play but now have limited leads to go on.  For now family and friends are left mourning a life cut inexplicably short.

"This is not how we would have wished for the story to end.  Our hope was that Jackie would be found alive and happy," said BJ Franklin, a spokesperson for the family.

The investigation remains open as authorities try to figure out the nature of Douthart's death.  Anyone with any information is asked to call Mt. Pleasant police at 319- 385-1450.

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