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Missouri mom staged disappearance, daughter found safe, sheriff says

MissourMissingMom.jpg

In this undated photo released by Chariton County Sheriff's office, Rachel Koechner and her 4-year-old daughter Zoee Sandner are shown. (AP)

A missing central Missouri woman and her young daughter were found unharmed, but the woman was taken into custody and faces charges of allegedly fabricating their abduction, Chariton County Sheriff Chris Hughes said early Tuesday.

Rachel Koechner, 28, and her 4-year-old daughter, Zoee Sandner, were reported missing Thursday night after last being seen earlier that day in the Brookfield area. Hughes had said the two were believed to be with Koechner's ex-husband, Devon Sandner, 37, who is the girl's father, and were considered to be in danger because of a history of domestic violence.

Hughes said Linn County sheriff's police and Missouri State Highway Patrol officers located all three about 10 p.m. Monday. Hughes said no one was injured.

He said Koechner was taken into custody and is being held in Chariton County Jail pending charges.

"Though investigation police learned she fabricated the (abduction) story," he said.

He said Sandner was not charged in the incident but was taken into custody on an outstanding forgery warrant. He said the child was placed in state custody.

Police feared the woman and child were in danger after Koechner on Monday called her boyfriend from a motel in the Kansas City suburb of Blue Springs.

"She called her boyfriend and said everything is OK, but it sounded like she was reading off a script," he said.

Hughes said Koechner was at the check-out desk when he called the motel later and asked if she was staying there. A motel worker handed her the phone.

"She said she couldn't talk now," Hughes said. "I asked if she was OK, and she said, 'No.'"

By the time Blue Springs police arrived at the motel, she was gone.

Her mother reported her missing Thursday after her boyfriend received a text message from her that said, "help me."

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