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Body of missing man found in Jefferson County drainage ditch

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BARNHART, MO (KTVI)-- The search for a man missing for nine days has come to an end in Jefferson County.

Police say the body was found on Highway M near Interstate 55. The victim was identified as 36-year-old Dale Leija.

The victim’s sister said that it all seems very strange to her because her family already searched this area a couple of days ago because this was the area he went missing. The family didn't find anything so they came back Monday and found a wallet, some personal items, his clothes, and then they called police.

At this point Leija’s sister doesn't want to rule out foul play, but is thankful for all the support her family has received through this difficult time.

His sister is also asking for anyone who is interested in helping them out with the unexpected funeral expenses. They can donate at Commerce Bank in Arnold.


  • Vivian Elena Hausmann

    I just don’t understand How the police didn’t find him when they were”searching” this is right in the vacinity that was supposedly searched. DOGS or a helicopter could have found him.

  • catelin

    I drive by there every day and didnt see anyone ever looking for that missing. Man supposedly he left 7 eleven which is right there!! So sad if its that missing man bacause if they searched at all they would of definitely found him

  • sarah

    Sorry to hear that Dale was found. If the police were really there with dogs like it was said, he would have been found sooner! prayers go out to the Leija family.

  • Jessica

    If it is that missing man, sadly, it’s not surprising the police didn’t take it seriously and do a thorough search. It’s such a shame. My thoughts and prayers go out to the loved ones left behind.

  • chris hampton

    i’m depressed,i miss my cousin dale leija he and i grew up together and i’ve cried for a long time and i’m going to miss him so much. and i want to thank the jefferson county sheriff’s department and the antonia fire department for thier efforts as well.

  • Mike

    Did the cops, truelly search that area? I doubt it, if he was really there when they looked. They would have spotted him. Rest In Piece Dale Leija!

  • Rebecca Morris

    No matter who found him or how they went about the search,in the end a family & friends who loved this man are forever going to carry the pain & grief until The Good Lord calls them home…of course in their minds they will always question the way things were handled & replay over & over all the what ifs or what could’ve been done different…grieving comes with many stages including shock,anger,hurting,disbelieving,it is all a long hard & painful road to learning to cope the best they can…it’s such a sad & painful thing I wouldn’t wish on anyone to have to endure…my heart,thoughts &prayers are with this family…my PERSONAL belief is that only one man,GOD,can help them get through this…God bless all the family & may God be your strength through this horrible tragedy

  • jen

    he was a really good guy…… i knew his son and i feel really bad for all of them…… praying for all of them we go to AMS

  • Brenda

    I drive by there all the time, I did see people out at that area searching, it looked like cops and civilians. Sorry for the families loss

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