Beau Rothwell, 28, earlier had been charged with the murder of his wife, Jennifer, who he reported missing last Tuesday

By Jeff Truesdell
November 19, 2019 10:47 AM
Jennifer Rothwell
Credit: Facebook

A body found late Monday is believed to be that of a missing Missouri woman whose husband was charged last week with her murder after police found blood- and bleach-soaked carpeting in the couple’s suburban home, according to multiple reports.

Authorities were led to the site north of St. Louis County, off state Highway 61 in Lincoln County, after 28-year-old Beau Rothwell began to cooperate in the week-old disappearance of his wife, Jennifer, also 28.

“My client and I are working with the St. Louis County police department and the St. Louis County prosecutor’s office to bring closure to this case and to all parties involved,” Beau Rothwell’s attorney, Charles Barberio, said in a statement Monday night, reports St. Louis TV station KMOV. “We have no further details to release at this time and ask for privacy on behalf of the families as we cooperate with law enforcement.”

Police learned where the body could be found during a meeting about 2:45 p.m. Monday with Beau and his attorney, and made the discovery about 11:30 p.m. in a wooded area about 20 yards off the highway shoulder, St. Louis County Police Chief Jon Belmar told reporters, according to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.

Beau Rothwell
Beau Rothwell
| Credit: AP/Shutterstock/St. Louis County Police Department

“We’re going to follow up with DNA to do a total confirmation to make sure it is Jennifer Rothwell, but I do believe and detectives believe it is her,” he said.

“It’s horrible for things like this to end this way, but the fact of the matter was, we didn’t have good news last week and we felt it would lead us to this outcome. But it’s good for the community and for Jennifer’s family and for her memory to have this wrapped up,” he said.

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Jennifer was reported missing by her husband last Tuesday night — a day before his initial arrest on a charge of tampering with physical evidence. Beau told police he last saw Jennifer, a chemical engineer, on Tuesday morning as she left for work.

Her abandoned Hyundai Sonata was found Tuesday night, less than two miles from the couple’s suburban St. Louis home.

Beau was charged Friday with murder in her presumed death after a search of the Rothwell home turned up wet carpeting that was soaked in bleach, say police.

Authorities allege both the carpeting and the padding underneath it were stained with blood.

DNA samples from the missing woman’s parents matched with the blood found at the home, where Beau is alleged to have killed his wife on Monday, according to court records.

Police say they have video evidence allegedly showing Beau buying carpet cleaner, gloves and bleach on the day before he reported his wife missing, according to charging documents.

Beau allegedly “purchased and applied cleaning products to a large area of blood in effort to destroy or remove physical evidence with the purpose to impair its availability in an investigation into the murder of Jennifer Rothwell,” according to those documents.

A motive for the presumed slaying is unclear. The couple married in 2015.

Beau had been held in St. Louis County jail on a $100,000 bond on the evidence tampering charge. But after the additional murder charge was filed, his bond was revoked by a judge, and he “will remain in custody as the case proceeds,” according to an earlier statement issued by St. Louis County prosecutor Wesley Bell.

After the body was found, Bell told the Post-Dispatch that authorities do not have any information regarding “the how or the why yet.”