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Monday, June 6, 2011

Police find boat connected to Jackson missing persons case

Dozens gather at prayer service for missing womanBy Erin Hevern
At least 100 people gathered at Anthem Blue Cross Blue Shield on Saturday to pray for the safe return of a missing mother of three.

More than three days after 39-year-old Jacque Sue Waller was last seen in Jackson, police haven't found or announced an arrest connected to her disappearance, though they announced Friday the seizure of a boat and a truck in the case.
Waller was last seen at 5 p.m. Wednesday, and on Thursday police announced the Cape Girardeau/Bollinger County Major Case Squad was looking into her disappearance.

Although Waller was still missing Saturday, police located a boat they said Thursday was connected to the investigation, according to Jackson Lt. Rodney Barnes, public information officer for the case squad. They also found a red truck belonging to the missing woman's husband at the home where he was staying in the 1100 block of Woodland Drive.

Barnes said Friday that authorities searched property, including a pond behind the home, in the 1100 block of Woodland Drive, where they found the four-door GMC Sierra. No new discoveries were reported to the Southeast Missourian on Saturday.
The major case squad was activated Thursday to search for Waller, who was last seen in the area of Woodland Drive and North Neal Street.
"They took me seriously from the minute I walked into the building," said Cheryl Brenneke, Waller's sister, at the prayer service Saturday. "I can't say enough about the Jackson Police Department and the major case squad. They are building a case."
Waller had been living with Brenneke and her family in Ste. Genevieve since March.
Barnes couldn't say where or when the boat was located and wouldn't say how the two investigations were connected. The owner of the boat has not been identified. He has also continued to be tight-lipped on the circumstances of Waller's disappearance.
"I'm not going to put out anything that will compromise the investigation," he said.

Barnes said Thursday it's not common for the case squad to join a missing person investigation but the out-of-character nature of Waller's disappearance concerned the case squad.

Several Jackson residents living in the area where Waller was last seen said Thursday night they hadn't seen anything out of the ordinary in their neighborhood the day police say Waller disappeared. Waller's blue Honda Pilot was found abandoned at mile marker 105 on Interstate 55 in the Fruitland area.
By Friday, many in the neighborhood had heard of Waller's disappearance and news of police investigating a missing boat triggered Renee Tilley's memory.
Tilley, who lives along North Neal Street, said between 5:30 and 6 p.m. Wednesday she saw a blue sport utility vehicle speed west along Morton Street and then turn onto Neal Street. A boat, she said, was on a trailer behind the vehicle.
"And there wasn't a woman driving that thing, either. There was a man behind the wheel," Tilley said.

She didn't report the incident to police, because at the time she thought someone was just driving too fast through the neighborhood. Investigators interviewed her Friday afternoon, she said.

In a Facebook post Thursday, Waller's mother, Ruby Rawson, wrote that her daughter had gone to Cape Girardeau to file for divorce Wednesday and hadn't been seen since. Also in her post she had asked friends to pray for their family. Waller's longtime friend, Amy King of Benton, Mo., said Thursday Waller had left her husband, Clay Waller, a few weeks ago. Waller has three 5-year-old triplets who have not been reported missing.
Brenneke said Saturday that she knew something had gone wrong when her sister didn't return to Ste. Genevieve in the time frame she should have.
"We want her found one way or the other," she said, addressing the prayer service crowd.
Tina Brugger said Friday she and many others in the area are feeling uneasy about the situation.
"I'm nervous," she said. "I'm wondering if it's safe for my kids to be playing in this neighborhood."
The case squad was formed to assist local law enforcement with investigating serious crimes, giving them additional resources during the crucial early hours of a homicide or other criminal investigation.
Anyone with information should call Jackson police at 243-3151.
Pertinent address:
Woodland Drive and North Neal Street, Jackson, MO
471 Siemers Drive, Cape Girardeau, MO


Jacque Sue Waller's vehicle sits in a garage in Jackson on Friday, June 3, 2011, after police combed it for evidence. Police are asking anyone who saw the vehicle after 5 p.m. Wednesday to contact them. (Erin Hevern)

Clay Waller's truck sits in a garage at the Cape Girardeau County Sheriff's Department Friday, June 3, 2011, after police searched it in connection with the investigation into Jacque Sue Waller's disappearance. (Erin Hevern)

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