April 19, 2014

Human bones found in SE Iowa determined to be remains of young woman

Authorities have released new information about human remains found last month in southeast Iowa. An anthropologist’s report shows the bones are that of a woman between the ages of 24 and 32 who likely died in the summer or early fall of last year.

The woman’s identity has not been determined, but Iowa DCI special agent Jeff Uhlmeyer admits the findings would suggest it could be Jackie Douthart — a 24-year-old Mount Pleasant resident who disappeared last May. “Some of these characteristics of the remains that were developed by the anthropologist would meet her age and height and possible time of death related to her disappearance last year,” Uhlmeyer said.

Results of DNA tests to gain a positive I.D. could take up to six weeks, according to Uhlmeyer. A young man who was called a “person of interest” in Douthart’s disappearance committed suicide in July after a chase and standoff with police. Ben Biggs, 24, had previously told investigators that he dropped Douthart off in Mount Pleasant on the day she vanished.

Douthart’s daughter, Zoey, is now nine years old. The bones, discovered on March 17, were first spotted by two children riding their bikes along old Highway 34 — about 10 miles west of Mount Pleasant.