• Back Road Mysteries Staff

Corpus Delicti: No body found leads to less that satisfactory justice for "Angie"

Michelle Angela "Angie" Varnell was last seen at her residence in the vicinity of the 3900 block of Ozark View Road in Stover, Missouri on October 25, 2003.

Her husband of three years, Michael Shane Yarnell, intially stated he came home after work and Michelle was gone.

He said he assumed she had gone to Holts Summit, Missouri to visit her mother, Marianne Asher-Chapman, and would return in a few days, but she never did and has never been heard from again.

Asher-Chapman reported her missing seven days later, after Michael came to her house to see his wife and discovered she had never arrived at Holts Summit.

Michael Varnell

Asher-Chapman reported her missing seven days later, after Michael came to her house to see his wife and discovered she had never arrived at Holts Summit. Two weeks after Angie vanished, Asher-Chapman received a postcard that was supposedly from her. It was postmarked on November 8, 2003, from Harrison, Arkansas. The postcard stated that Michelle was en route to Texas to visit the family of someone named "Gary." Angie's loved ones do not know anyone by that name and do not believe she does either, and Asher-Chapman didn't think Angie actually sent the postcard. She stated that the handwriting appeared markedly different from her daughter's. 

Asher-Chapman had last had contact with her when they spoke on the telephone eight days before Michelle went missing. She stated their conversation was normal and Angie did not mention that she was seeing another man. In November 2007, Michael was named a person of interest in Angie's disappearance. By then he had moved and authorities had lost touch with him.

In May 2008, Michael was officially listed as missing, as his family and friends claimed they hadn't heard from him since November 5, 2005. Michael was located in Biloxi, Mississippi in November. He was arrested and charged with felony counts of forgery and tampering with physical evidence in connection with his wife's disappearance.

He admitted having written the postcard to Angie's mother in order to disrupt the police investigation, and handwriting experts confirmed his story. The following month, Michael was additionally charged with Angie's murder. Authorities stated he confessed the crime to them; he said during an argument, he pushed Angie off a their home's deck and she died instantly. Michael said he dumped her body offshore from an uninhabited island in the Lake of the Ozarks, four miles from the Yarnell residence. Investigators searched the water, but didn't find any evidence. Asher-Chapman stated she didn't believe Michael's version of the events surrounding Angie's death; she stated the Yarnells' deck was four feet off the ground and not ten feet as he claimed.

In June 2009, Michael pleaded guilty to involuntary manslaughter. He was sentenced to seven years in prison, and released in July 2013. Angie left all her personal belongings behind when she vanished, as well as two dogs whom she cherished. Her marriage was troubled, and Angie was very upset because Michael had wrongfully accused her of infidelity, but she was close to her mother and her relatives do not believe she would leave without contacting them, as she has no history of such behavior. At the time Angie disappeared, Asher-Chapman was being treated for cancer, and she does not believe her daughter would have abandoned her when she was ill. Foul play is suspected in Angie's disappearance due to the circumstances involved.

Angie was 28-years-old when she went missing and would be 44 today. She stood 5'0 and weighed 170 pounds.

She had light brown hair and brown eyes. She wore contact lenses or eyeglasses with round, gold wire frames. Her tongue and ears were pierced and she had a small surgical scars on each side of her hip.

Angie had three tattoos: a jagged barbed-wire fence in black ink around her right wrist, a green frog on her left shoulder blade, and the word "obey" in black cryptic writing elsewhere on her body.

She was possibly wearing a white gold or silver watch, emerald earrings, white gold or silver bracelets on her right wrist, and a gold ring with an engraved initial M.

If you have information that might lead to closure in this cold missing persons case, please contact the Morgan County Sheriff's Office at 573-378-5481.

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