ST. LOUIS – A St. Louis ballerina died as a result of drowning but the circumstances surrounding her death remain a mystery.
The body of 23-year-old Raffaella Maria Stroik was found in the water at Mark Twain Lake State Park on the morning of Wednesday, November 14, 2018, near the 107 boat ramp. Stroik lived in St. Louis but was originally from South Bend, Indiana. She had performed with the St. Louis Ballet since September 2017.
According to our news partners at the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, the Monroe County Coroner’s Office ruled Stroik had drowned but said the manner of her death was unclear. The county coroner said Stroik did not leave a suicide note and she didn’t have injuries consistent with a fall.
Stroik did not have any drugs or alcohol in her system at the time of her death.
A private plane pilot located what he believed to be a person in the water and notified the Missouri State Highway Patrol. Members of the MSHP’s Water Patrol Division responded and recovered Stroik’s body.
Stroik was last seen on the morning of Monday, November 12, 2018, at the Whole Foods Market in Town and Country. Her vehicle was found the same day, two hours away, in rural Monroe County. The ranger who discovered the vehicle did not think it was suspicious because there was no missing persons report at that time.
A Missouri state trooper saw that Stroik’s car was still in the parking lot on Tuesday. The car was locked and her personal belongings, including a cellphone, were found inside the vehicle. Her keys were located outside the car.
Law enforcement contacted Stroik’s family. Her family did not know she was at the lake, which is located about 150 miles from St. Louis. They discovered she was missing and a report was filed on Tuesday, November 13.
Authorities conducted a ground, air, and water search. The search was called off when it became too dark Tuesday evening. There were around 100 people searching for Stroik, including community college students, firemen, and police officers.
Stroik’s car was found on one side of the lake. Her body was discovered Wednesday morning on the other side of the lake.