Investigators believe skeletal remains found in southeast Iowa are those of a young Mount Pleasant woman who went missing one year ago this week. Iowa Division of Criminal Investigation special agent Jeff Uhlmeyer spoke at a news conference today in Mount Pleasant.

“While no scientific identification has been made, at this time, we believe that the remains are that of Jackie Douthart,” Uhlmeyer said. The 24-year-old Douthart was a mother to a now 9-year-old girl.

The bones were discovered in March of this year by two children riding their bikes along old Highway 34 about 10 miles west of Mount Pleasant. Uhlmeyer said there are a couple of reasons why investigators are confident the remains are those Douthart.

Those include the findings of a forensic anthropologist and the identification by Douthart’s family of jewelry found with the remains. “However, the D.C.I. and the state medical examiner’s officers will continue to scientifically identify the remains through mitochondrial DNA analysis,” Uhlmeyer said.

The remains are being sent to a lab in Minnesota for further testing. While investigators do not have a cause of death, Uhlmeyer said they believe “foul play” was involved. Around a month after Douthart’s disappearance, the main suspect in the case, 24-year-old Ben Biggs, was involved in a police chase and took his own life.

Mount Pleasant Police Lieutenant Ron Archer said the investigation will continue. “Anybody that has information, we’d like for them to come forward…so we can investigate and give the family a little more closure,” Archer said.

By Theresa Rose, KILJ, Mt. Pleasant