URBANA — Police are trying to figure out how a 23-year-old woman who hadn't been seen in nine months was never reported missing before a fisherman discovered her body in rural Mahomet late last month.
Police said on Friday that human remains found on Aug. 29 along County Road 2650 N, about a mile east of Illinois 47 near the Sangamon River, were identified as those of Kelsie Blackford, 23, who police say was last known to live in Villa Grove.
Blackford's Facebook page lists her hometown as Sidney.
Champaign County Sheriff's Capt. Allen Jones said Ms. Blackford had not been reported missing but was last seen by a friend in late November. Officials are calling her death suspicious but do not know yet how she died.
Police are hoping to receive more information from the public to fill in the pieces of what happened to Ms. Blackford between when she was last seen and when her body was discovered. Jones said police had already received one tip not long after Friday's announcement.
There was no record of her disappearance in any database, Jones said.
"There was no report filed with anybody," Jones said. "That leaves a lot of questions to be answered as to her whereabouts."
Jones said Ms. Blackford has parents in Villa Grove. He did not know if she was employed.
She was not married, Jones said, and had one child. He said he did not know with whom or where the child was on Friday afternoon.
"When you have somebody missing this long, there's a lot of questions and we don't have the answers and that's why we need help," Jones said.
Jones said identification for Ms. Blackford was found near her body, so police have been working since the remains were discovered under the assumption it was Ms. Blackford. He said the coroner's office confirmed that Friday.
Jones said no suspects have been identified.
Anyone with information is asked to contact the sheriff's office at 384-1213 Champaign County Crimestoppers at 217-373-8477. Information may also be sent anonymously online at http://www.373tips.com or by cellphone text message by sending CCTIP plus the information to CRIMES (274637).
Crimestoppers will pay a reward if the information leads to an arrest. Cash rewards are also paid for information on other felony crimes or fugitives in the Champaign County area.