Remains found of missing Verndale native
SEND US A MESSAGE
by Trinity Gruenberg
Verndale native Sussette (Harvey) Benhardt was reported missing in June of 2016 in Lincoln County, Missouri. Her remains were found in December 2018.
On June 23, 2016 the Lincoln County Sheriff’s Office investigated the disappearance of Benhardt and her husband William. They were last seen at their business Snow Hill Nursery.
Witnesses told investigators the two were last seen arguing on the property the morning of June 22. The couple was in the process of a divorce.
On June 23, William was found in Montgomery County on property he owned. He was deceased in his truck from a self inflicted gunshot wound. Two bullets were fired from his gun; one was unaccounted for.
The sheriff’s department conducted a search of the nursery and adjoining areas with rescue teams and cadaver dogs, drones and divers with no luck.
On December 15, 2018 the Montgomery County Sheriff’s office recovered partial human skeletal remains on a property northeast of Bellflower. The remains were taken to the medical examiner’s office for forensic examination and identification. The search continued through the following day with K9s, but they were unable to find any more remains.
On December 18, the sheriff’s office enlisted the help of the Wentzville Police Department and their drone pilot team.
The following day a grid search was conducted with the sheriff’s office, jail, Montgomery and Bellflower fire departments. The search yielded no results.
That same day the identification was made on the recovered remains as being that of Sussette Benhardt. Her family was notified. The sheriff’s office plans to continue their search for the rest of her remains.
Benhardt was a 1984 graduate of Verndale High School. She attended college in Wadena to become a nurse and moved to Troy, Missouri after graduating where she was married. She continued to work as a nurse and at their nursery. She had five children.
Our sincerest condolences to her family.