Nursing student’s body exhumed in 1992 cold case murder

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BENTON, MO (KTVI) – The body of a murder victim from 1992 was exhumed from a grave in southeast Missouri.

Mischelle Lawless was found dead in her car in Benton, Missouri in 1992.  She had been shot three times and struck in the head. Authorities are hoping to collect DNA evidence to find the person or persons who murdered the 19 year old nursing student.

An Illinois teenager, Josh Kezer spent 16 years in prison for the killing before being exonerated in 2009.  The Scott County Sheriff reopened the case in 2006 because he believed Kezer was innocent.  Sheriff Rick Walter got permission from the family to exhume the body on Tuesday.

It was an emotional moment as the family stood by at a cemetery near Unity Baptist Church.  The remains were taken to a lab in Scott City where 45 DNA samples were taken, including samples from wounds that were not tested after Lawless was killed.

A team of forensic experts from the Netherlands has been brought in to help Scott County investigators.  They are known for their success in murders that seemed impossible to solve.

Mischelle Lawless’ body has now been reburied.

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