Search continues for missing Royal Lakes, Ill. woman

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ROYAL LAKES, Ill. – The Major Case Squad of Greater St. Louis has conducted 12 days of an exhaustive investigative effort into the disappearance of Denita Hedden.

Hedden was last seen on Catalpa Avenue in Royal Lakes, Illinois on January 25, 2018, at 11:00p.m.

Authorities said an extensive search operation spanned seven days and covered a large portion of southern Macoupin County. First responders have searched by land and air, canvassing over 35 square miles. This endeavor included more than 22,400 acres of rural terrain and 70 road miles. Teams have spent hundreds of man-hours looking for Denita Hedden.

Major Case Squad investigators believe that Denita Hedden’s disappearance involves foul play.  Detectives say the conclusion is based on a myriad of factors including, but not limited to, evidence recovered during the squad’s investigation.

No information related to the evidence, in this case, has been released. A person of interest has been identified by the Major Case Squad, but that person’s name has not been released. The facts and circumstances surrounding this case have been turned over to Macoupin County State’s Attorney Jennifer Watson.

The Major Case Squad of Greater St. Louis wanted to emphasize the importance of Macoupin County property owners, farmers, and residents, to inspect their property for anything unusual in the interest of finding Hedden.

Investigators implore local residents traveling county and rural roadways to report anything unusual they may encounter or observe. This request is made not only to those residing in the immediate vicinity of Royal Lakes but also areas which may extend beyond perceived search boundaries. Even if first responders and search teams have been in your area please take a moment to check your surroundings.

Denita was described as a white female, is 5’0”, and weighs approximately 110 lbs. She was last seen wearing a maroon Nike hooded sweatshirt, blue jeans, and brown boots. She was wearing hoop earrings.

The Major Case Squad has extended their prayers to the family and friends of Denita Hedden. The investigation at this time has transitioned back to the Macoupin County Sheriff’s Office.

If you have any information on this case, please call St. Louis Regional CrimeStoppers at 1-866-371-TIPS (8477), Macoupin County Sheriff’s Office 217-854-3135 ext: 1 or Macoupin and Montgomery County CrimeStoppers 1-800-352-0136.

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