Oxygen Insider Exclusive!

Create a free profile to get unlimited access to exclusive videos, breaking news, sweepstakes, and more!

Sign Up for Free to View
Crime News Missing Persons

Body Found in Kansas City Woods Believed to Be Missing Missouri Mother Ebony Duncan, Police Say

Police in Missouri say they found a body in the woods that may belong to Ebony Duncan, who hasn't been seen since September 6. 

By Elisabeth Ford
Police believe they may have found the body of Ebony Duncan

Authorities believe they have found the remains of a Missouri mother who went missing in September.

The Independence Police Department announced Wednesday that it recovered the remains of a woman on Tuesday after following leads in the search for 44-year-old Ebony Duncan and combing the area around 83rd St. and Hillcrest Road in Kansas City.

RELATED: Yoga Instructor Accused in Love Triangle Killing of Cyclist Allegedly Tracked Victim on Fitness App

A cadaver dog used in the search located a body in the woods nearby.

What have police said about the body found in the search for Ebony Duncan?

“The deceased person has identifiers that are consistent with those of Ebony Duncan and at this time, the deceased person is believed to be her,” the Independence Police Department stated. “However, a positive identification will have to be made with the Jackson County Medical Examiner’s Office as the case continues.”

Where was Ebony Duncan last seen?

Duncan went missing on September 6 and was last seen getting into a silver sedan near her place of work, NBC-affiliated Kansas City station KSHB reported.

Charles Smith-Howell is suspected of kidnapping Ebony Duncan

After a two month-long investigation, police have narrowed in on Duncan’s ex-boyfriend, Charles Smith-Howell, 41, who officials suspect may have kidnapped her, according to the Kansas City Star. Smith-Howell is currently in federal custody without bond for an illegal possession of ammunition charge.

RELATED: Man Charged with Murder 7 Years After Telling Authorities his Bruised Girlfriend Never Woke from Train Nap

According to court documents obtained by Fox 4 News, “[Ebony Duncan] confided in a co-worker that a prior intimate partner or ex-boyfriend was threatening to kill her.”

When Smith-Howell was arrested in September, the Independence Police Department's SWAT team found a license plate inside the SUV he was driving that was registered to a vehicle that authorities suspect is the one that Duncan was last seen getting in to, the Star reported.

Authorities said they also found a gun magazine loaded with 12 rounds of ammunition, which led to Smith-Howell’s federal charge. He has not been charged in relation to Duncan’s disappearance.

RELATED: Indiana Man Arrested for Murder on Anniversary of Halloween Killing Committed 41 Years Ago

Police said they're searching for a person of interest in this case, 42-year-old Keaira Ransberg (Jenkins), for questioning. She's described as being 5 feet tall, weighing 150 pounds, and having brown eyes. Ransberg has a last known address in Kansas City. Anyone with information on where Ransberg might be is encouraged to contact the Crimestoppers TIPS Hotline at 816-474-TIPS, where they can remain anonymous. 

As the investigation continues, Duncan’s family is grieving.

“We would never think that in a million years, something like this would happen,” Duncan’s daughter, Essence Williams, told KC-TV.

Williams told the station that she began to worry when her mother never called her while she was in the hospital preparing to give birth.

“I feel devastated for my kids, especially because she was so excited for my third baby,” Williams said. “The last time I saw her, she was rubbing my belly saying, ‘Oh, your belly has gotten so big,’ she was so happy.”

Read more about: