ST. CHARLES, Mo. – The family of a missing woman found dead last week in Maryland Heights are planning to lay her to rest.
Jacquelyn Mitchell’s sister, Tiffany, said her family is processing this devastating loss one day at a time. She wants “Jacque” to be remembered as a good person and a friend to everyone.
“She loved everybody. She was the life of the party. You could be at the end of a family event, she’d be the last one there,” Tiffany said. “She was such a sweet and caring person, would not hurt a soul. So this whole thing is just, it’s tragic. It’s horrific, and I don’t wish that upon anybody, and nobody deserves this, especially Jacque.”
Mitchell’s family made a memorial with flowers and stuffed animals near the apartment complex where she took her last breath.
“It’s a horrible place where (the memorial is) at, as far as it being where she was found at the apartment,” Tiffany shared. “But she loved her nieces and nephews and would always give them little things. My son gave me something to put there. It’s where she took her last breath, and it’s just kind of maybe to get a little connection with her. So for me, I just kind of feel a little connection with her there. I can say that on behalf of my dad, too.”
“It’s a horrible place where it’s at, as far as it being where she was found at the apartment, but or to me and I can speak behalf it’s just kind of maybe to get a little connection with her,” Tiffany explained. “She loved her nieces and nephews, and would always give them little things, so my son gave me something to put there.”
Maryland Heights and St. Charles police held a joint news conference one week after Mitchell’s disappearance. They said Mitchell and the suspect, Joseph Dejoie, were acquaintances. Investigators say they exchanged texts the night of March 14. That was the last time Mitchell was seen alive, on surveillance video, leaving Maggie O’Brien’s restaurant in Sunset Hills. Police said she went to Dejoie’s apartment after, but Mitchell’s sister doesn’t think they knew each other well.
“I do know that he would go kind of bar-to-bar, you know, trying to coerce women and hit on women,” Tiffany said. “I’ve never met this man before in my life. I’ve never heard of his name, so when they say, ‘acquaintances,’ I think that kind of makes it a broad spectrum.”
Records show Dejoie has prior arrests for crimes, including rape and burglary. Charging documents show the 49-year-old told police he killed Mitchell and left her body in his bedroom for six days. He moved her car to another apartment complex less than a half-mile away, according to police. Dejoie also admitted to wiping down her car and body attempting to hide evidence, records show.
“I can only imagine as to what was to come next,” Tiffany said. “If police wouldn’t have found her when they did, would we have ever found her? Because that, to me, means now you’re trying to just dump her body like trash, and she’s not trash. She’s a person and she’s my sister, and how dare somebody do that?”
Dejoie is being held at the St. Louis County Justice Center on a $1 million cash-only bond. He faces several charges, including second-degree murder, and is set to appear in court on Wednesday, March 29, for a bond hearing.
“I want him to be behind bars for life. I don’t think somebody like that deserves to be walking around the streets,” Tiffany said. “There is no right justice in my eyes. I don’t know that there could ever be enough justice, but I definitely want to make sure he is never allowed to do this to anybody else, and he needs to be in bars forever.”
Jacque would’ve celebrated her 40th birthday in September, but instead her family is working to plan her funeral.
“We’re just trying to get through it,” Tiffany said. “I’m hoping maybe (her body will) released in the next few days and we can set a date for the funeral, and we get that part of the process over with.”
The group who came together to help find Jacque last weekend is now working to raise money for those expenses. You can donate to Jacque’s sister, Stephanie Kay Babcock, via Venmo by searching @steph_kay3 (the last four digits of her phone number are 6565) or on CashApp by searching $stephkay316.