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The Daily Register - Harrisburg, IL
  • Missing Peoria woman's body found in Edelstein field

  • EDELSTEIN — Tashyra McDowell's whole life was her son, 7-year-old Marcus. When he turned up unattended Monday, days after last being seen with his mom, family feared the worst. Those suspicions reached a tragic confirmation Tuesday afternoon with the discovery of McDowell's body in a cornfield a few hundred feet off the 2100 block of Hallock Hollow Road.
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  • Tashyra McDowell's whole life was her son, 7-year-old Marcus. When he turned up unattended Monday, days after last being seen with his mom, family feared the worst. Those suspicions reached a tragic confirmation Tuesday afternoon with the discovery of McDowell's body in a cornfield a few hundred feet off the 2100 block of Hallock Hollow Road.
    "As soon as I got that phone call that she was apart from her son, I knew something was wrong," McDowell's mother, Twila Rutherford, said Tuesday night as family gathered at her home to mourn.
    "She really dedicated herself to her son. That was really her pride and joy," Rutherford added.
    Rutherford last had contact with her daughter Friday, when 24-year-old McDowell retrieved mail from her home so she could obtain a state identification card.
    That day was the last time authorities have been able to confirm her whereabouts. As usual, she was with her son.
    The boy, who is autistic, was found unattended about 7:30 a.m. Monday in the 1800 block of North New York Avenue. Because of his condition, he was unable to share with police details of what happened to his mother. The boy is now safe and with Rutherford.
    McDowell's car - a 1996 red two-door Ford Escort - was found abandoned about 4:45 p.m. Monday in the 400 block of Richard Pryor Place.
    Her body was found about noon Tuesday when a farmer harvesting corn found her body stuck in his combine. Authorities spent about two hours disassembling the eight-row corn picker to remove the body.
    McDowell was pronounced dead at 12:43 p.m., according to Peoria County Coroner Johnna Ingersoll. Family identified the body later in the day, and an autopsy is scheduled for Wednesday morning to determine preliminary cause of death.
    The Peoria County Sheriff's Department is the lead law enforcement agency investigating the death, along with the Coroner's Office and with assistance from the Peoria Police Department.
    Peoria County Sheriff's Department Chief Deputy Joe Needham said Tuesday night that detectives were following up leads in the case, but he did not have any further information to release.
    Rutherford said that her family on Wednesday will begin planning funeral services for a daughter whose main devotion in life was her son.
    "She was really a caring and loving person," Rutherford said.
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