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Crime News Breaking News

Missing Ballerina Found Dead In Missouri Lake

The family of Raffaella Stroik, who had come to help in the search, was "shocked" by the discovery of the body, which was found approximately 100 miles from St. Louis where she danced professionally.

By Jill Sederstrom

The search for a missing St. Louis ballerina ended tragically Wednesday, when searchers discovered the 23-year-old woman's body in a lake.

The Missouri State Highway Patrol has said there appeared to be no signs of foul play.

The body of Raffaella M. Stroik, 23, was discovered at approximately 9:40 a.m. Wednesday morning after the pilot of a private plane noticed what appeared to be a person in the water at Mark Twain Lake, according to a release from the Missouri State Highway Patrol.

Officers recovered the body and identified her as the missing dancer.

Although police don't believe there were any signs of foul play, the circumstances around the dancer's death continue to be a mystery.

She was last seen at a Whole Foods in Town and Country, Missouri, just outside St. Louis, on Monday morning. But her body would be discovered at the Mark Twain Lake State Park, a rural area approximately 100 miles outside St. Louis, the St. Louis Post Dispatch reports. Investigators don't know why she was in the area or whether she had any ties to that part of Missouri.

Her family, who had come to help in the search efforts were also "shocked" by her death, according to ABC News.

The missing persons search began after a park ranger had noticed her unattended car off a boat ramp parking lot on Monday. When the car was still there on Tuesday, Missouri state troopers and park rangers determined Stroik was missing and began investigating.

Her car had been locked and the keys to the car had appeared to be intentionally placed on the vehicle.

Investigators said they still plan to investigate the death and asked anyone with information to come forward.

"We still encourage the public, if anybody's had any contact with her prior to her disappearance, if they saw her travel from St. Louis to here, if they have any information or think they may have, to absolutely call the Monroe County Sheriff's Department or contact the highway patrol so we can follow up,” Missouri State Trooper Eric Brown said, according to WSBT

Stroik had been a member of the St. Louis Ballet since 2017. The dancer, who was originally from South Bend, Indiana, said in a promotional video made by the company to announce its new dancers that she had been excited to come and dance in St. Louis. As a child, she said, she had loved watching the New York City Ballet's version of 'The Nutcracker.'

Her profile page on the company's website now reads, "May Raffaella rest in peace. She was a beautiful soul we will all miss deeply."

[Photo: Missouri State Highway Patrol]