Relatives Identify Missing Burnsville Woman as Body Found Near Minnesota River

April 26, 2018 01:06 PM

UPDATE: Medical Examiner Confirms Body Found Near Minnesota River that of Missing Burnsville Woman

Relatives say the woman last seen nearly six months ago was the body crews removed from a small pond near the Minnesota River underneath the Interstate 35W bridge in Burnsville Sunday.


Authorities had said they have to wait for the human remains, which were encased in a 500-pound chunk of ice to thaw, before they could make a positive ID and notify the family. 

Dakota County Sheriff Tim Leslie said, "The body was frozen into the ice and is being defrosted slowly to preserve evidence and prevent decomposition. The Hennepin County Medical Examiner anticipates doing the autopsy on Thursday and we should have answers on the cause of death that day."

But relatives say she is Elizabeth Perrault, of Burnsville, who was reported missing by her parents in December. Perrault shared her apartment with a live-in boyfriend.  He told investigators the last time he saw Perrault was in November, when she left with two unknown female friends to go to an unspecified treatment facility.  Perrault had struggled with alcohol over the years.  

Authorities said in the warrant that the boyfriend's story changed as the weeks went by. 

The search warrant filed by Burnsville Police revealed forensic investigators collected evidence of a crime in February.  In Perraults apartment, investigators found "a large significant stain which had soaked through the carpet."  

RELATED: Authorities: Human Remains Located Near Minnesota River in Dakota County Badly Decomposed

Authorities are investigating the case as a "highly suspicious death," and said the body had been there a long time, which indicates she died in November or December. 

A passerby discovered the remains Sunday afternoon.  Now those close to Perrault are waiting to hear how she died and why, "how can her children prepare for that, and to her family she was a missing person, now she ended up in a river, you never get closure unless you get answers."

Authorities interviewed the boyfriend and everyone in Perrault's circle.  No one has been named a person of interest, a suspect or been arrested.



Theresa Malloy & Beth McDonough

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