BUTLER COUNTY, MO (KFVS) - Authorities say personal items and clothes found with human remains discovered this week, suggest the bones belong to a 74-year-old woman who went missing back in September 2003.
There are a lot of mixed emotions that Mary Lee Grobe's family says they are dealing with. They have always been divided on what happened to their loved one.
Now some of Mary Lee's children say the sheriff's office never even notified them about their mother's remains, and they want to know why it took so long to find her in the first place.
"There are so many unanswered questions so much to still deal with. Hopefully this will bring closure to five and a half years," Christine Collins said. She is one of Grobe's daughters, and she blames investigators for most of that long wait.
"They haven't put enough effort into this from day one," she said. "It was just like she wasn't important because she was an older person. There has never been a true search or an investigation."
"She disappeared at a time when I wasn't sheriff. I don't know what searches were done or how they were done," Butler County Sheriff Mark Dobbs said. He points out he inherited the case from former Sheriff Bill Heaton.
Dobbs agrees he has questions too, but he's confident he's done his best.
"If I had a criticism of this case it would be that assumptions were made that shouldn't have been made. The number one rule in police work is assume nothing," he said.
Investigators plan on handling the case as they would a homicide, but they must wait for federal crime lab analysts to figure out a cause of death.
"We don't want to go and beat down a bunch of family members if this is a natural causes death," Dobbs says.
Back outside Mary Lee Grobe's home, her daughter says she realizes the wait is far from over.
"It's going to be a while before we know for sure."
Sheriff Dobbs and Coroner Jim Akers also hope crime lab analysts can figure out how long those remains lay in the woods, owned by Shooter's Cycle.
The sheriff told Heartland News Thursday he still suspects the same person he did at the beginning, but says he must now take a step back and wait for details from the lab.
We'll keep you posted on what happens next.