Crime Scene
Josh Anderson

The death of Michael A. Schaefer, 30, Owensville, has been ruled a homicide by the Franklin County medical examiner’s office.

Franklin County Sheriff Steve Pelton did not release the cause of death since it is a “key component” to the ongoing investigation.

Pelton added since Schaefer’s body was found in Franklin County, his department is now leading the murder investigation with the assistance of the Crawford and Maries County sheriff’s offices.

“It was a homicide, but I don’t want to release anything outside of that,” Pelton said. “With multiple jurisdictions involved, we want to make sure any information is correct information.”

Although he wouldn’t go into detail, Pelton did confirm Schaefer was last seen alive, and he was reported missing on Dec. 17, in Owensville. The victim may have died around that time.

The car he was found in was reported stolen in Owensville on Dec. 12.

More than a week has passed since Schaefer’s body was found in the trunk of a 2012 Toyota Corrolla in Oak Grove Village.

On Tuesday evening, April 24, a passer-by noticed a foul odor coming from the car parked in the lot of the former Burger King and authorities were notified.

When Franklin County sheriff’s deputies arrived, they discovered a badly decomposed body and it was sent to the county medical examiner’s office.

On Friday, April 27, the medical examiner identified the body as Schaefer.