Local missing persons case gains national attention

Angie Yarnell went missing in 2003 from Morgan County. (File)

The giant tree in Marianne Asher-Chapman's front yard is adorned with mismatched green ribbons - each one tied in a bow. There are fourteen of them - one for each year since Marianne's daughter, Angie Yarnell, went missing.

On October 25, 2003, then 28-year-old Angie went missing from the Ivy Bend area. She was reported missing days later, when she and her husband didn't show to a family birthday party.

"As the party went by, we had all kinds of guests here and everything, Angie and her husband just never showed," Marianne said.

Marianne said she called her daughter several times. She tried one more time in the evening saying in her voicemail that if she did not hear from Angie, she planned to drive to her daughter's house in Morgan County the next morning.

A couple of hours later, Angie's husband, Michael Yarnell, showed up at Marianne's house. He said Angie had left him, presumably for another man. That story did not sit well with Marianne, and she filed a missing person's report the next day.

Fast forward to 2008, Michael admits to causing his wife's death. He was sent to prison and served four years. He was released in 2013.

All of this, and still, Angie's body hasn't been found. The pain of that, Marianne said, is hard to handle.

"I'm still looking for her," she said. "We've never found her body, so I spend a lot of my time looking for Angie."

Marianne said she couldn't sit idly by. She started a nonprofit organization called Missouri Missing. Through this she has met countless Missourians who are also searching for missing loved ones.

"I talk to families all the time, and I know the exact steps to tell them to take in the very beginning," she said. "There was nobody to help me - not a single soul - nobody. You're just thrown into such a state of desperation. You're just frantic."

The organization hosts events to raise awareness about missing persons. It also provides resources to families continuing their search.

"We all support each other," she said. "We all lean on each other."

Marianne's quest for closure most recently landed her on a national television show, Crime Watch Daily with Chris Hansen. She said for months she worked with them to develop an episode that aired Wednesday night.

She said when it comes to looking for a missing person, getting your story on national television is like 'hitting the lottery.' There are thousands of Americans in the national database for missing and unidentified persons - each one with a story, with a family searching for answers.

Marianne said she feels grateful because she's recently received several opportunities to share her story.

"I feel so fortunate lately because I cannot have my daughter forgotten," she said. "I can't."

This fall will mark 15 years since her daughter's disappearance. Soon, she may have to add a fifteenth green ribbon to her big, front-yard tree. Despite the pain of not having found her daughter yet, she said she keeps moving forward.

"I have to stay hopeful because I just feel like I owe it to my daughter," she said. "I feel like it's sort of my duty to never let her be forgotten, and it's not just her, it's all these other families."

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