Sheriff says missing Missouri mom, daughter in danger

A central Missouri woman who has been missing with her young daughter since last week seemed to be reading from a script when she called her boyfriend from Blue Springs on Monday and told him she was fine, but she later indicated to a sheriff that she was in trouble, authorities said.

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. Chariton County Sheriff Chris Hughes said the two are believed to be with Koechner’s ex-husband, Devon Sandner, 37, who is the girl’s father.

The mother and daughter are considered endangered because of a history of domestic violence. Devon Sandner has not been charged in connection with their disappearance, but police are looking for him.

Koechner was at a Blue Springs motel when she called her boyfriend Monday morning, Hughes said.

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

The sheriff called the motel later and asked if Koechner was staying there. Koechner was at the checkout desk, he said, and 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.

Koechner’s mother reported her missing Thursday after her boyfriend received a text message from her that said, “help me.”

Koechner filed for divorce Aug. 13, a week after she received a protection from abuse order against Devon Sandner. The couple divorced in November.

He was charged in early January in Livingston County with third-degree domestic assault after his new girlfriend told police he had struck her in the face at a Chillicothe motel.

On Monday, an arrest warrant was issued in Linn County for Sandner on five counts of forgery. Prosecutors allege he wrote five bad checks on the account of another man in August.

Hughes said the mother, daughter and Sandner are believed to be in a charcoal gray, 2003 Ford F-150 pickup with Missouri license plate 0PJ-718.