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Woman charged in connection with Cape Girardeau Co. homicide appears in court for the first time


CAPE GIRARDEAU COUNTY, Mo. (KFVS) – A woman charged in a homicide investigation made her first appearance before a judge on Thursday morning, June 23.

Teresa Baumgartner, 59, is accused of tampering with evidence in connection with the death of 20-year-old Jessi Wilfong.

She appeared before a judge via video Thursday for an arraignment hearing.

Baumgartner requested a public defender and the judge scheduled a bond reduction hearing for next week.

She is currently being held without bond and investigators said they expect to file further 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.

While searching the area around a barn in Cape Girardeau County, investigators found the remains of Jessi Wilfong.(Cape Girardeau County Sheriff’s Office)

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 from the house 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.

Woman charged in connection with Cape Girardeau Co. homicide appears in court for the first time
Investigators say Jessi Wilfong was last seen at a home in Millersville, Mo. on the night of May 19.(KFVS)

After Wilfong disappeared, Baumgartner was interviewed and allegedly told investigators that she, Wilfong, and Wilfong’s uncle spent the night of May 19 “sitting around a bonfire in his residence drinking and talking. “.

According to court documents, at one point Wilfong asked to be taken back to Fredericktown, but they refused. They state that Baumgartner said Wilfong had to leave her house after falling asleep.

Baumgartner never reported Wilfong missing.

Woman charged in connection with Cape Girardeau Co. homicide appears in court for the first time
Investigators say Jessi Wilfong was last seen at a home in Millersville, Mo. on the night of May 19.(KFVS)

According to the Cape Girardeau County Sheriff’s Office, Jessi Wilfong was reported missing by her mother on May 25 and a missing person report has been 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 discovered that the carpet and padding in the living room and hallway had been removed from the house.

Investigators have determined from the evidence gathered that foul play was involved in Wilfong’s disappearance.

On June 18, deputies visited near the house and found the site of a recently excavated piece of land inside a barn.

While searching the area, they found the remains of Jessi Wilfong.

According to court documents, an auger was found on the property that had been leased by Baumgartner to an area business on May 24.

Deputies say the results of a June 20 autopsy 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.

MPs say additional charges are expected against one or more people.

Copyright 2022 KFVS. All rights reserved.

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