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Family hopes new search gives answers in death of Dunkirk woman reported missing last year


MUNCIE, Indiana — The family of a dead Dunkirk woman hopes a recent search where her remains were found last year will provide answers about her death.

The partial remains of 25-year-old Brianna DiBattiste were found in September at the Jay County Conservation Club, more than two months after she went missing. But her skull was not found, and her family thinks it could provide more information.

The (Muncie) Star Press ( ) reports the family organized a new search of the club's grounds April 11, with dogs from an Indianapolis search group picking up traces that indicate her skull could be in a pond.

One of DiBattiste's arms and a hand also weren't found, and authorities say the missing parts were likely taken by animals. But her family doesn't think they took her skull.

"Obviously, we're hopeful they find the skull," said Terri Beatrice, DiBattiste's aunt. "If not, it's out there. It's somewhere else."

Jay County Coroner Jason White said the cause of DiBattiste's death could not be determined because of the condition of her remains. He said his office thinks she died of a drug overdose, but family members think she may have been killed.

White said DiBattiste's skull is the "remaining piece that we need." He said he and Jay County Sheriff Dwane Ford were planning how to follow up on the family's search. That could include a search of the pond, he said.

"It's certainly not going to hurt to put together a plan to try to search that area that the dogs indicated on," White said.

Information from: The Star Press,

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