Raffaella Maria Stroik, a 23-year-old professional dancer with the St. Louis Ballet, was last seen Monday at a Whole Foods in Town and Country, Missouri

By Jeff Truesdell
November 14, 2018 03:52 PM
Raffaella Maria Stroik
Rob Edwards/Twitter

No foul play is suspected after authorities on Wednesday reported finding the body of a St. Louis ballet dancer who went missing two days earlier, apparently abandoning her car near a state park boat ramp about two hours from her home, PEOPLE confirms.

Raffaella Maria Stroik, a 23-year-old professional dancer with the St. Louis Ballet, was last seen about 10:30 a.m. Monday at a Whole Foods Market in the St. Louis suburb of Town and Country, the Missouri State Highway Patrol said in a news release.

Later that same day a ranger at Mark Twain Lake State Park, in rural Monroe County about 100 miles northwest of St. Louis, spotted Stroik’s unattended vehicle parked at the Highway 107 boat ramp in the park, according to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.

A computer check at the time did not connect the vehicle to any missing-person’s report, the highway patrol said. But at 8:50 a.m. Tuesday, a state trooper found the vehicle still parked in the same spot and an investigation was launched after Stroik was declared missing.

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Her personal belongings, including a cell phone, were found inside the locked vehicle, with the keys outside, where “they appeared to have been intentionally placed in a certain spot on the vehicle,” said patrol Sgt. Eric Brown, according to KTVI.

A private plane pilot flying over Mark Twain Lake spotted “what he believed to be a person in the water” around 9:40 a.m. Wednesday, the highway patrol said in a second news release, and after officers were alerted, the body was recovered and identified as Stroik.

“We have not found any indicators that foul play was involved, but it is an open investigation to determine the circumstances related to her death,” Brown tells PEOPLE.

No manner of death was released.

Stroik, a native of South Bend, Indiana, joined the St. Louis Ballet company in 2017, according to her bio page on the company’s website. A spokesman for the company told KTVI prior to the recovery of her body that they were “very worried about her.”

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“I grew up watching the 1993 version of New York City Ballet’s The Nutcracker,” Stroik said in a video on the ballet company’s website. “And so coming to St. Louis to dance with this person I had watched growing up was so exciting.”

The South Bend Tribune reported that Stroik’s father was Duncan Stroik, an architect and longtime professor of architecture at the University of Notre Dame.

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