Henry County remains identified as Douthart
UPDATED WEDNESDAY 5-23, 4:35 p.m.
Tuesday May 22 marked one year since 24-year-old Jackie Douthart went missing on May 22, 2011.
On March 17, human remains were found in Henry County along Old Highway 34 near the Henry-Jefferson County line after a couple of kids riding their bikes discovered what appeared to be a human skull.
Wednesday morning, the DCI, Mt. Pleasant Police Department, Henry County Sheriffâ??s Office, and the State Medical Examinerâ??s Office held a press conference declaring the skeletal remains as those of Jackie Douthart.
Due to the bones being exposed to environmental conditions, DNA testing couldnâ??t develop a DNA profile. Officials do believe the human remains to be Jackie Douthart although there is no scientific identification at this time.
â??We felt that with the information we had, everybody involved in the investigation is comfortable that the remains are those of Jackie Douthart,â?? said Jeff Uhlmeyer, DCI Special Agent.
The remains will be sent to mitochondrial testing which can take anywhere from six months to up to one year.
On March 17, a ring and wrist watch were recovered with the remains and have been identified by family members of those belonging to Jackie Douthart. Additionally, an anthropologistâ??s findings show that the finger nails are those of Douthartâ??s as well.
Although Douthartâ??s family was not at the press conference, they did release a statement:
â??That is not how we would have wished for the story to end. This is -- our hope was that Jackie would be found alive and happy. We ask that we are given the opportunity to now grieve in private.â??
During the course of the of the past yearâ??s investigation, more than 150 leads related to Douthartâ??s disappearance have been followed up on. The most promising leads all point to a dead man.
On June 29, 2011, Benjamin Biggs stole a vehicle in Quincy, Illinois and led police on a high-speed chase. Biggs then shot and injured two officers. He later barricaded himself inside a house and committed suicide.
â??Investigation did reveal that Benjamin Biggs was the last person known to be with her shortly after midnight on May 22, 2011. Benjamin Biggs was interviewed several times during the investigation, the last time being on June 14, 2011,â?? said Special Agent Uhlmeyer.
Cell phone and social media information was looked; Special Agent Uhlmeyer and Lt. Ron Archer were able to present this case to the DCIâ??s Cold Case Review Unit this past December. Everyone agreed that they were on the right path with the person they had zeroed in on, Benjamin Biggs.
The mystery surrounding the disappearance of a Mt. Pleasant woman has apparently been solved.
Investigators say skeletal remains discovered in rural southeastern Iowa in March are those of a 24-year-old mother who vanished last year.
Division of Criminal Investigation agent Jeff Uhlmeyer said Wednesdsay the remains are those of Jackie Douthart.
He says the identification is based on an examination by a forensic anthropologist and jewelry discovered with the remains that were identified as hers by family members. He says DNA testing has been unable to confirm the identity, and the remains will be sent to a laboratory in Minnesota for further testing.
Uhlmeyer says investigators do not have a cause of death, but believe foul play was involved. He says investigators believe the main suspect is a 24-year-old male acquaintance, Benjamin J. Biggs who killed himself in June in Quincy, Ill.
Tess Hedrick was in Mt. Pleasant today and will have a complete report tonight on KTVO 3.1 and CBS 3.2.
(The Associated Press contributed to this story.)