Police: Body found is most likely missing mother from Kansas City, Mo.

KANSAS CITY, Mo. - The search for a missing Kansas City, Mo., mother has likely come to an end. Kansas City Police said they believe they have located the body of 21-year-old Essence S. Willoughby.

A search party of officers, investigators and volunteers made the discovery around 2 p.m. Tuesday in a creek bed in a wooded area near the intersection of Leeds Trafficway and Stadium Drive.

Police spokesman Darrin Snapp said the body has not been officially identified, but the body description and clothing found on it match Willoughby's appearance.

Willoughby has been missing since Sunday when she left her mother's house in the 5400 block of Wayne Avenue, to attend church with her longtime boyfriend and two young sons. Willoughby's boyfriend and father of her children, returned the boys later Sunday night, but there was no sign of Essence.

Witnesses told Willoughby's family they saw her arguing with a man at a corner store at 55th Street and Paseo Boulevard earlier on Sunday.

Snapp said witnesses led police to the wooded area. He said Willoughby's own 3-year-old son provided very helpful information. Tracy Reed, a longtime friend of Willoughby's family, said the young boy actually witnessed his mother's murder, though police will not confirm that.

While no one has been named a suspect, Snapp said Willoughby's boyfriend – a 42-year-old man – is currently in custody for unrelated charges.

Snapp said the man was observed being under the influence of narcotics Monday and taken to a hospital. Once released, Snapp said the man was taken to jail. Snapp said investigators plan to question him about Willoughby's disappearance.

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