Kansas City police detectives on Monday continued to work to positively identify the body found in a submerged car in the Missouri River, but Toni Anderson’s mother has said it’s her daughter.
A small memorial of flowers has been placed by the boat ramp in Platte Landing Park near Parkville, where it is believed that Anderson slid into the Missouri River. A handwritten note reads, “RIP Toni Anderson.”
“I can’t confirm anything that has been told to the family of Toni Anderson, but I can say that at this point, we don’t have any evidence that suggests foul play,” said Capt. Stacey Graves, a spokeswoman for Kansas City police.
“It’s still an ongoing investigation that detectives are working on, so I won’t be able to speak any further about that.”
Anderson’s mother, Liz Anderson of Wichita, told The Star on Sunday that police had confirmed the identity. The body reportedly was identified from clothing Toni Anderson was last seen wearing.
Police have not provided an explanation of how Anderson’s car ended up at Platte Landing Park, where it was pulled from the river Friday evening.
Anderson, 20, had been missing since the early morning hours of Jan. 15. She had been stopped by a North Kansas City police officer for an improper lane change.
When she told the officer she was almost out of gas, he directed her to a QuikTrip at 26th and Burlington streets. The QuikTrip is less than 8 miles away from Platte Landing Park.
On Monday afternoon, cars and trucks trickled into the park as people drove by to check out the boat ramp and the place where Anderson’s car was found.
The boat ramp is just shy of a mile from Mill and Main streets, in downtown Parkville.
A sign in the parking lot to the boat ramp and a dog park at the end of Main Street welcomes people to the park. The park is one of Platte County’s newest, and it’s a cooperative effort between Platte County and Parkville in cooperation with the Missouri Department of Conservation.
There’s only one light pole in the parking lot, which is by the boat ramp. The ramp, which has about an 8- degree slope down to the river, has a grooved surface and points downstream.
Anderson’s mother said the most likely explanation is that her daughter was upset about being stopped and became confused and ended up at the boat ramp in the park.
“She got freaked out,” Liz Anderson said. “She got lost and she got confused, or whatever. It was still dark. She was on the boat ramp and tried to back out. The ramp was icy, and she slid into the river.”
Kansas City police said the car was pulled from the water “more than a few” yards downstream from the boat ramp and that it was possible the car had floated a short distance.
Members of the Kansas City Police Department’s missing persons unit who had worked the case were relieved and thankful that Toni Anderson’s car had been found and that they were making progress in the case.
“They were in constant contact with the family, so they went through this with the family,” Graves said. “When we are in these type of investigations, you know there are some emotions involved. We want to find missing people. We want to solve cases.”
Finding her vehicle was a big step, but Graves said the investigation still goes on.
“It still maybe poses more questions, but at least her vehicle has been located,” she said.