Missing woman’s body found in St. James

Published 12:00 am Saturday, June 5, 1999

By LEONARD GRAY / L’Observateur / June 5, 1999

LAPLACE – The body of a Baton Rouge woman, missing since May 30, was located Tuesday just inside the northern border of St. James Parish atAirline Highway.

St. James Parish Willy Martin Jr. confirmed her identity as that of HardeeMosely Schmidt, 52, last seen May 30 at 6:25 a.m. on her regular jogthrough the south Baton Rouge subdivision, Pollard Estates.

He refused to state for the record the cause of death determined by the autopsy, only to observe it was particularly brutal. He said it was betternot to make public every detail at this point in the investigation.

“All I can say right now is that she went through hell,” Martin said.

A runner by pastime, Schmidt was reported missing at noon Sunday by her husband, Baton Rouge attorney Bob Schmidt, after a search through the neighborhood by friends and family.

St. James Parish Sheriff Willy Martin Jr. said his office got a call Tuesdayat 11 a.m. from a passing bicyclist who spotted a woman’s body floatingface down in a drainage canal, 1 1/2 miles inside the parish line.

“It appeared somebody just dumped it,” Martin said. “From what we havehere, it looks like somebody stopped and tossed her over the rail. There’sno indication of a crime scene there to work, no blood or anything.”An underwater investigation crew from the Baton Rouge Police Department spent most of Thursday, first dragging, then diving in the shallow canal, two miles north of St. James Boat Club. Martin said thecrew was looking for any additional evidence which might assist the investigation, such as clothing or a possible weapon.

Martin continued it seemed likely the woman was killed elsewhere and her body put into the canal Sunday night or early Monday morning, judging by the condition of the body. “In this heat, it would take about two days forthe body to surface, and also the exposure to the elements tells us how long.”An autopsy was conducted Wednesday morning, and Baton Rouge police used the dental records of the missing woman to establish that the body was that of Schmidt.

Anyone with information to contribute to the investigation is urged to call the St. James Parish Sheriff’s Office at 1-225-562-2200 or the BatonRouge Police homicide division at 1-225-389-4869.

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