NEW MADRID COUNTY, Mo. (KFVS) - A big break in the 2006 disappearance of Teresa Butler brought state and county investigators to a small home on Second Street in Tallapoosa.
That’s just 4 miles south of Risco where Teresa Butler went missing. At the home, the construction crews worked alongside police.
Work started around 10 a.m. on Monday, May 20. It was headed up by Master Sergeant Bud Cooper with the Missouri State Highway Patrol and New Madrid County Captain Chris Hensley.
The two men closed the Sherry and Megan Scherer case, about 14 miles southwest of Tallapoosa, in Portageville last fall. Now, they’re working this major break in another cold case they hope to solve.
New Madrid County Sheriff Terry Stevens said they received information that this house may contain possible evidence connected to Butler’s disappearance.
“Risco is my hometown and although I don’t place any importance more over one town than another, when it hits that close to home, I mean, I have family and loved ones that live within a mile of her location,” Sheriff Stevens said. “It very easily could have possibly been someone who was my family member or close friend. So, that is what makes it really personal to me.”
The 35-year-old mother of two vanished back in January 2006. Her husband, Dale, came home from his night shift the morning of the 25th to find their two and four-year-old sons home alone but no sign of his wife.
Investigators say they found no sign of a struggle inside the couple’s home in Risco.
When we profiled Teresa’s case on Heartland Unsolved in March 2017, we learned police had identified and interviewed a suspect.
We also learned about the discovery of a camcorder, allegedly stolen from the Butler home the night Teresa went missing and then used in a drug deal. Investigators believed more than one person was inside the Butler home before Teresa vanished.
We learned on Monday that the search wasn’t the only one for physical evidence in the Butler case to take place in the same area.
“Two years ago, in ’17, we basically dredged a ditch just south of Tallapoosa looking for possible remains,” Sheriff Stevens said. “We’ve done several different things over the years. Just like I’ve said before, we will never allow this to be a cold case. We stay active on it as much as possible.”
The search inside the Tallapoosa home was not for Teresa’s body. It was for evidence they believe may be connected to her disappearance.
They collected pieces of wood and flooring from the home.
The sheriff said they were looking for possible trace evidence, possibly DNA. Something that could help them solve the case.
“We’ll take what we recovered from this residence that we searched and we’re going to send it to the crime lab to have it analyzed,” Sheriff Stevens said. “And we’ll wait and see what the results are.”
The Butler case has always been a very high priority in New Madrid County, along with the murders of Sherry and Megan Scherer. That cold case was finally solved in October 2018.
Now, the effort on Monday marked new movement in Teresa’s case.