Mother of woman missing for 13 years says she's thankful for discovery of remains

PHOTO: Megan N. Shultz is pictured in an undated photo released by Missouri police when she went missing from her home in Columbia, Mo., in 2006.PlayColumbia Police Department
WATCH Remains found in case of woman missing for 13 years

The mother of a Missouri woman who has been missing for more than a decade says she's sure that human remains found by police in a landfill Wednesday are that of her daughter.

Authorities announced Wednesday that they had found remains that were consistent with those of Megan Shultz, who disappeared from her Columbia, Missouri, home in 2006.

Columbia Police Chief Geoff Jones, whose department has been pursuing the case for 13 years, said at a news conference Wednesday that "the remains and evidence located with the remains are consistent with what we expected to find when looking for Megan."

Jones said that DNA testing to prove a match would take some time -- but Shultz' mother Debra told Missouri TV station KOMU 8 that she's confident the remains are her daughter's.

PHOTO: Megan N. Shultz is pictured in an undated photo released by Missouri police when she went missing from her home in Columbia, Mo., in 2006. Columbia Police Department
Megan N. Shultz is pictured in an undated photo released by Missouri police when she went missing from her home in Columbia, Mo., in 2006.

"She was dressed exactly the way that I described her and I understand that the body is somewhat intact," Debra Shultz said.

Megan Shultz's disappearance confounded investigators for more than a decade after her husband, Keith Comfort, told authorities that the 24-year-old walked out of their apartment after an argument at around 1 a.m. on Aug. 5, 2006, and never returned.

Police did not consider Comfort a suspect in her disappearance, and he subsequently moved to Wisconsin to raise the couple's young daughter.

PHOTO: Columbia Police Chief Geoff Jones speaks at a press conference in Columbia, Mo. KMIZ
Columbia Police Chief Geoff Jones speaks at a press conference in Columbia, Mo.

In the ensuing 13 years, police followed tips from people who said they had spotted Shultz as far east as Kansas City, but none of them panned out.

The break in the case came last month when, police say, 13 years to the day after reporting Shultz missing, Comfort, now 37, walked into the police station in Lake Geneva, Wisconsin, and confessed to killing his wife.

According to court documents, Comfort said that he and Shultz had argued, and that he had forced her to the ground and strangled her. After he realized she wasn’t breathing, he put her body in a garbage bag and "threw her into the ... dumpster" of their apartment complex, according to KOMU 8.

Armed with that knowledge, Columbia police began a painstaking search of the city landfill to try to recover Shultz' remains. The dig covered a 14-acre area as officers worked to identify items that were disposed of around the time Shultz went missing, according to Columbia ABC affiliate KMIZ.

PHOTO: A city official gestures to a map of the Columbia Sanitary Landfill in Columbia, Mo., during a press briefing about human remains that were discovered, Sept. 18, 2019. KMIZ
A city official gestures to a map of the Columbia Sanitary Landfill in Columbia, Mo., during a press briefing about human remains that were discovered, Sept. 18, 2019.

"We talked the first day at the landfill, and most of us have children, and none of us including the city manager were comfortable with that being the resting place of a child. Somebody's child was there," Chief Jones said at Wednesday's press conference. "We all have families and we felt that we had a duty and responsibility to try to find Megan and bring her home to her family."

"I'm still in shock," said Debra Shultz after Wednesday's police announcement. "It's like, 'Oh my God, my baby will get to come home."

Comfort is being held in custody on a $1 million bond, according to KMIZ.