By Dave Moller
A large-scaled search for a missing Eolia woman ended Sunday, Feb. 17 when she was found dead in a creek near her home.
Jennifer Bogert, 48, died of a self-inflicted gunshot wound to the head from a small caliber handgun found at the scene, according to Lincoln County Sheriff’s Department Captain Mike Huffman.
“It will be investigated and there will be follow-up but it appears to be an obvious suicide,” Huffman said Monday, Feb. 18.
Authorities have not found a reason for why Bogert apparently took her life, Huffman added.
Bogert’s husband, Paul Bogert last saw his wife when he left for work at 7:15 a.m. on Friday, Feb. 15, Huffman said.
When Bogert didn’t report to work at the Doris Twellman CPA office in Bowling Green, concerned co-workers called her husband.
After being alerted, Bogert went back to the family home on the Pike and Lincoln county lines about 10:15 a.m. to find his wife’s vehicle, purse and car keys still there.
When authorities arrived at the home, there were no signs of struggle or violence, Huffman said.
“Her vehicle was there, her purse was there, keys, everything,” except her phone, Huffman said.
No suicide note was found and her mental state when last seen was normal, Huffman added.
“There were no recent reports of despondency, alcohol use or drug dependency. Everything was in order,” Huffman said.
Other authorities were alerted and a large search effort was established that day with people on the ground, a helicopter and search and rescue dogs.
By Saturday, at least 90 law enforcement and civilian volunteers assembled behind a command center behind the Fastlane Fuel Center at Hwy. 61 and Hwy. FF to resume the search.
Dog teams were busy searching the median of Hwy. 61 for any kind of a scent of Bogert. Riders on horseback went north. Others went to the area around the Bogert home on ATVs.
“This is big news for this town,” said Bill Grimes, an employee at Scotty’s Market at Hwy. 61 and Hwy. DD.
The volunteer searchers who came from Palmyra to Eureka were fanned out in the area after getting instructions from authorities.
One of them was Curryville Police Officer J.R. Bergen, who knew Bogert.
“She’s our accountant,” Bergen said. “She signs my paychecks and comes to council meetings.”
Bogert lived on Morgan Meadows Lane about one mile southwest of Eolia. The house is in a sprawling area of small farms and modern homes dotted with ponds and wooded creek ravines.
Although there are open fields and space between the properties, brushy fence lines, outbuildings, the ponds and creek ravines provided plenty of spots where a person could not be found.
On Sunday, Feb. 17, authorities were tracking Bogert’s cell phone, Huffman said.
“It’s in the area, which does not mean she’s in the area,” Huffman said at the time. The older cell phone did not have a GPS system but was trackable, he said.
Around noon, Bogert’s body was found in a creek between one-half and one mile southwest of the home, Huffman said. Paul Bogert said he did not want to comment on Feb. 18, other than, “the family will be handling the (funeral) arrangements.”