Kansas Authorities Find Body During Search for Missing Coed

Authorities searching for a missing college student found a female body and a car belonging to the 19-year-old, and friends said a man had been stalking members of the woman's dance team.

Arkansas City police were not saying whether the body discovered Tuesday in southeast Cowley County was that of Jodi Sanderholm, about eight miles from her car. The body was taken to a Wichita forensic center for identification and autopsy, police said.

Authorities were preparing charges against "a known suspect" who was being held on unrelated charges, according to a news release from Arkansas City police.

In a news release issued Wednesday morning, police said the department is following up on information "that another individual and/or individuals may have also been involved in" Sanderholm's disappearance. The statement did not elaborate, and police said they would not comment further.

Sanderholm was last seen at a Subway restaurant in Arkansas City about 1 p.m. Friday.

Sanderholm's car was found at the bottom of the Cowley State Fishing Lake. Divers spent Tuesday searching at the 84-acre lake on U.S. 166 about 15 miles east of downtown Arkansas City.

Cowley County Sheriff Bob Odell said Monday that authorities were investigating a tip that a letter with Sanderholm's name on it was found in a restroom at the lake, but "I haven't gotten any confirmation on that."

At the Ark City Dance Studio, where Sanderholm worked and taught, fellow members of the Cowley College dance team said a man had been stalking several team members.

"It is just scary. It could have happened to any one of us," said Ashley Cochran, who graduated from high school with Sanderholm last year.

Cochran said she had been followed by the man, who had gone to the place where she worked.

Also, a former girlfriend had sought an order of protection against the man. Alexis Swartzell filed an injunction Monday in Cowley County District Court, saying the man had been stalking her and her 5-year-old daughter since Jan. 1.

"I cannot go anywhere alone. He always finds me," she wrote in the injunction.

Brianna Branine, also a member of the dance team, said team members were hard-hit by news that a body was found.

Branine said other dancers had been stalked, but she wasn't one of them.

Nearly 200 people gathered Tuesday night outside the dance studio for a prayer vigil.

"The hope that Jodi is safe has grown quite dim," said the Rev. Mark Boxman, pastor at Redeemer Lutheran Church in Arkansas City.

Police said Sanderholm's family did not want to speak to the media.