Police to search Columbia landfill in homicide investigation

3 months 5 days 18 hours ago Friday, September 06 2019 Sep 6, 2019 Friday, September 06, 2019 11:38:00 AM CDT September 06, 2019 in News
By: Morgan Riddell & Gabriela Gonzalez, KOMU 8 Reporters
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COLUMBIA - Police are making a new push for answers in the 2006 disappearance and death investigation of Megan Nicole Shultz. 

Columbia Police Department Assistant Chief Jeremiah Hunter announced Friday investigators would search the regional landfill on Peabody Road in Columbia.

Shultz was reported missing in August 2006. At the time, her then-husband Keith Comfort said she left their apartment and never came back. In August, prosecutors charged Comfort with murder after he reportedly confessed to police in Wisconsin that he strangled her and put her body in the apartment complex dumpster.

In a previous news release, police said searching the landfill wouldn't be simple; it covers more than 100 acres, with 91 actively being used to dump trash.

In a news release Friday, police said they've narrowed down areas of the landfill to examine that were most likely in use in August 2006.

Hunter said they are not looking for evidence related to the crime. Instead, detectives will begin by looking for dated materials - newspapers, receipts and postmarks - as indicators those sections were in fact in use in August 2006.

"Right now we're not searching for any evidence," Hunter said. "We're looking, exploring where trash material was placed at that time, thirteen years ago."

The police department hopes to narrow down the waste from the year 2006 to the week the event happened. If the areas and findings match up, CPD will look into the possibility of a larger search. 

"If we can successfully identify the area where we were actually working in early August of 2006, then we can determine the feasibility of doing a larger scale excavation to actually search for evidence," said the assistant director of the Department of Utilities David Sorrell.

"We would like to have a proper memorial and burial for my daughter," Shultz's mother Debra Shultz said. "[Comfort] turning himself in was just the tip of the iceberg."

Debra said she was informed before Friday's announcement of the pending landfill search, and is looking forward to the 13-year-old nightmare to end.

Comfort is in the Boone County Jail with a $1 million bond. He has a scheduled case review for September 10. 

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