Police in Independence, Missouri, have announced that they believe the search for 44-year-old Ebony Duncan has come to an end, as they have reportedly discovered her remains.
On Halloween, the Independence Police Department detectives pursued various leads and tips that ultimately led them to a wooded area located near E. 83rd Street and Hillcrest Road in Kansas City.
Surrounded by homes, apartments, and even a funeral home, a gravel road at that cross street leads to a dead end.
According to detectives, the remains were discovered with the assistance of cadaver dogs and showed similarities to those of Duncan’s features.
Officer Jack Taylor, the public information officer for the Independence Police Department, stated that they are examining physical attributes including height, weight, eye color, hair color, scars, marks, and tattoos.
At present, 41-year-old Charles Smith-Howell, who happens to be Duncan’s former partner, is in federal custody and has been charged with illegal possession of ammunition. Despite pleading ‘not guilty,’ he remains in custody until his trial date on January 8th.
Taylor mentioned that the individual in question is still considered one of their suspects at this time.
On September 7, Ebony Duncan’s family filed a missing person report when the 44-year-old mother didn’t return home after leaving her job at Sunterra Springs, a senior living facility in Independence. The previous day, she was seen getting into a silver sedan, which was captured on surveillance video.
Based on legal records, authorities were able to track down the whereabouts of the silver vehicle, which had gone missing but was eventually located. It was discovered that the car belonged to Keaira Ransberg (previously known as Jenkins), who is currently in a relationship with Smith-Howell.
Authorities are currently regarding her as a potential suspect in the investigation. According to Taylor, “She might possess vital information that we need.” Taylor expressed concern for Ransberg’s safety, according to the statement released by the department.
According to him, “She seems to have vanished. We’ve been unable to find her.”
Authorities are currently seeking to speak with Keaira Ransberg regarding Duncan’s case. They are urging anyone with information on her whereabouts to contact the TIPS Hotline at (816) 474-8477. It is important to note that anonymity is an option if desired.
The Kansas City Police Department is providing assistance to Independence Police as they lead the ongoing investigation.
According to Taylor, on November 1, Duncan’s family was informed about the discovery of remains in the woods. Although a positive identification is yet to be made by the medical examiner, Taylor believes that all evidence indicates that the remains are those of Ebony.
Detectives have been trying to speak with Howell-Smith regarding Duncan’s disappearance, but so far, she has been uncooperative and unwilling to share any information with them.
In September, court documents revealed that Ebony had confided in a co-worker about a threatening situation with a prior intimate partner or ex-boyfriend who had threatened to take her life. The investigators began piecing together the information provided in the court documents to connect the dots.
Court documents reveal that Smith-Howell was contacted by Ebony Duncan’s daughter through Facebook, seeking information about her mother.
According to the daughter’s statement to the authorities, Smith-Howell mentioned that he had seen the mother the previous night and expressed remorse if something unfortunate had happened to her.
Following the incident, Independence police put out a “stop order” for Smith-Howell based on suspicions of kidnapping. During a pursuit in Kansas City, the authorities discovered the license plate and title for the vehicle inside Smith-Howell’s car. Additionally, court documents reveal that a loaded gun was found, resulting in the federal ammunitions charge.
According to court records, investigators briefly examined a large black trash bag in the back of the vehicle to confirm that Ebony Duncan was not inside.
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