A Council Bluffs police detective said Tuesday authorities do not suspect foul play by a third party in the deaths of a Plattsmouth, Neb., woman and her son.
The bodies of Charlotte Schilling, 41, and Owen Schilling, 10, were identified Tuesday. Their remains were discovered Sunday night by a passerby in Lake Manawa State Park. The mother and son had been missing for nearly two weeks.
Sgt. Dave Dawson said autopsies at the Iowa State Medical Examiner's Office in Ankeny confirmed the identities of the bodies, which were found in a remote wooded area about a quarter-mile from a boat ramp that runs into the Missouri River.
Dawson said the cause of the deaths remains under investigation, but police are satisfied that “a murderer is not on the loose.” He said it will be several days before details of the investigation are released.
“When we've gathered the last bits of information, we will get together with the family and give them an idea of how this happened,” Dawson said. “Then we will make a joint announcement with the FBI and the Plattsmouth Police Department.”
Charlotte Schilling and her son were last seen about noon May 10, when she picked him up from school in Bellevue. Video later showed them at a nearby convenience store.
Council Bluffs police found Charlotte Schilling's late-model Chevrolet Malibu at Lake Manawa May 11, but said there was no reason to believe any criminal activity had taken place. A search of the area last week turned up nothing.
Owen was in fifth grade at Wake Robin Elementary School, said a spokeswoman for the Bellevue Public Schools.
Neighbors of the Schillings described Owen as a typical 10-year-old boy who loved walking his two Pug dogs, bouncing on trampolines and riding a tire swing.
Justen Mrasek, 14, said Owen and Justen's younger brother would play together and that both were involved in Cub Scouts.
“Owen came over once in a while to play with my brother and sometimes he would bring his dogs,” Justen said. “He liked to play . . . he was just real normal.”
Jon Gishwiller, who lives a couple of houses down from the Schillings, said Charlotte Schilling was “a typical mother” who was worried about Owen's education. The Gishwillers home-school their children and Charlotte visited to talk about her son's reading skills.
“My wife recommended some software programs for her to work with Owen,” Gishwiller said. “He was a nice boy.”
Bellevue Superintendent Frank Harwood said Owen's disappearance was discussed with students and that officials would continue to help any classmates distressed by new information. Counselors were on hand to speak with students Tuesday and will be at the school again today.
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