HARRISONVILLE, Mo. – Human bones discovered Friday by a mushroom hunter have been initially identified as belonging to a woman.
The Cass County Sheriff’s Office announced the discovery Monday. A spokesman also said the department is investigating the case as a homicide.
During the weekend, the parents of missing Liberty, Mo. woman Desirea Ferris sought to find out if the bones belonged to her.
Initial examination of the bones ruled out a connection to Ferris based on the height of the person. The bones are connected to a person much taller than Ferris.
Ferris was last seen leaving a house near 81st and Highland in Kansas City almost a year ago to the day.
“It’s not that we actually believe that she’s still in the area, but there are a lot of people in this area that know what happened to her and know where she possibly is,” Spike, a family friend said.
Since then, Ferris’ family has conducted a number of searches following up on tips.
It’s what they were doing on Saturday when word came that human remains had been found by a mushroom hunter, a common occurrence each spring.
“There’s not a lot of undergrowth, there’s not a lot of vegetation that’s grown up yet and so people find these remains all across the country,” Capt. Kevin Tieman, a spokesperson for the Cass County Sheriff’s Office said.
During a preliminary autopsy, investigators determined the remains couldn't belong to Ferris because of height.
Her family said police told them the remains belong to an individual who is approximately 5’6. Ferris is 5’1.
“Unfortunately some other family is going to get the call that their loved one has been found,” Spike said.
For law enforcement these cases are a balancing act.
“We want to be mindful that we don’t want those parents or family members or love ones hanging on too long because it is an emotional roller coaster every time there’s something like this but we also want to be accurate,” Tieman said.
Wednesday marks one year since Ferris went missing.
Her family is planning to gather at Center elementary in Kansas City at 6:30 p.m. to walk in her memory.