ARKANSAS CITY, Kan. – Formal charges in the death of a 19-year-old Arkansas City woman might not be filed until next week because a suspect already is in custody, the Kansas attorney general's office said Thursday.
"Because we are holding a suspect on unrelated charges, it gives us the luxury of time to build a case," said Ashley Anstaett, spokeswoman for Attorney General Paul Morrison.
Jodi Sanderholm's car was found Tuesday at the bottom of the Cowley State Fishing Lake, and a woman's body was found about eight miles away. The 84-acre lake on U.S. 166 is about 15 miles east of downtown Arkansas City.
Morrison told KAKE-TV in Wichita that he is encouraged by the case, noting that the body was in decent condition and authorities had a pretty good crime scene.
"These kinds of cases are every parent, every community's worst nightmare," Morrison said.
Although Sanderholm's identity has not been officially confirmed by autopsy results, her family already has made funeral arrangements. Her parents have been given no reason to believe the body found Tuesday is anyone other than their 19-year-old daughter, said the Rev. Charles Grant, pastor at First United Methodist Church.
"The only people who have seen the body are the police, and I guess now the coroner in Wichita," Grant said. "We're confident enough that we need to proceed. Otherwise, life is on hold and on standby until you get past that funeral time."
To accommodate the expected large crowds, the family has planned an 11 a.m. memorial service Tuesday at the W.S. Scott Auditorium at Cowley County Community College.
Arkansas City police said Wednesday the department was following up on information "that another individual and/or individuals may have also been involved in" Sanderholm's disappearance, but would not elaborate.