CAPE GIRARDEAU COUNTY, Mo. (KFVS) – A woman charged in connection with a homicide investigation made her first appearance before a judge on Thursday morning, June 23.
Teresa Baumgartner, 59, is charged with tampering with evidence in connection with the death of 20-year-old Jessi Wilfong.
She appeared before a judge via video on Thursday for an arraignment hearing.
Baumgartner requested a public defender, and the judge set a bond reduction hearing for next week.
She is currently being held without bond and investigators have said they expect to file more charges in the case.
According to the Cape Girardeau County Sheriff’s Office, Wilfong’s body was found buried in a barn on property near Baumgartner’s home.
According to the Fredericktown Police Department, they were contacted by Wilfong’s mother on May 24.
They say Wilfong was at a home in Fredericktown on Thursday, May 19 and was picked up at the home by her uncle.
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.
Following Wilfong’s disappearance, Baumgartner was interviewed and reportedly told investigators the she, Wilfong and Wilfong’s uncle had spent the night of May 19 “sitting around a bonfire at her residence drinking and talking.”
According to court documents, at one point Wilfong asked to be taken back to Fredericktown, but they refused. They state Baumgartner said Wilfong must have left her home after she went to sleep.
Baumgartner never reported Wilfong missing.
According to the Cape Girardeau County Sheriff’s Office, Jessi Wilfong was reported missing by her mother on May 25 and a missing person’s report was filed with them.
The investigation led them to serve a search warrant on June 15 at a home in Cape Girardeau County.
According to court documents, they found the carpet and carpet padding from the living room and hallway had been removed from the home.
Investigators determined from the evidence collected that foul play was involved in Wilfong’s disappearance.
On June 18, deputies went to a location near the home and found the site of a recently dug portion of ground inside a barn structure.
While excavating the area, they found the remains of Jessi Wilfong.
According to court documents, an auger was found on the property that had been rented by Baumgartner from an area business on May 24.
Deputies say the findings from an autopsy on June 20 indicated Wilfong’s cause of death was homicide.
According to court documents, investigators say Baumgartner and Wilfong’s uncle worked together to dispose of the body.
The investigation remains open and ongoing.
Deputies say additional charges are anticipated against one or more people.
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