Mother: Toni Anderson's body was found in car pulled from Missou - KCTV5

Mother: Toni Anderson's body was found in car pulled from Missouri River

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Toni Anderson. (KCTV) Toni Anderson. (KCTV)
This is the second car that was pulled from the river on Friday. (KCTV) This is the second car that was pulled from the river on Friday. (KCTV)
A look at the rear end of the black car that was pulled from the Missouri river later in the day on Friday. (KCTV) A look at the rear end of the black car that was pulled from the Missouri river later in the day on Friday. (KCTV)
The SUV pulled from the water is "not believed to be related any KCPD investigation," police said. (KCTV) The SUV pulled from the water is "not believed to be related any KCPD investigation," police said. (KCTV)
Drone5's view of the scene at the park along the Missouri River. (KCTV) Drone5's view of the scene at the park along the Missouri River. (KCTV)
PARKVILLE, MO (KCTV) -

Toni Anderson's body was found inside her car when it was pulled from the Missouri River, her mother confirmed to KCTV5 News on Sunday. 

The family is still waiting on an autopsy to be completed, but the body in the car has been easily identified as that of Toni Anderson because of the condition the body was in.  

The car was found on Wednesday, but could not be removed from the river until later because of a need for divers.

The car was three-quarters of the way filled with silt and the family was told that the car probably would not have been found if it had taken another week to find it. Anderson's car was found behind Lincoln Navigator, the first car that was found in the river that day.

They believe Toni got turned around and frazzled after being pulled over by an officer and ended up in Parkville where she pulled into the park. There, she drove onto a boat launch that was icy and her car slid into the river. 

The window of the car was down and her seatbelt was off. Despite being a good swimmer, the water and current would have made it too difficult for her to escape the vehicle. 

All her belongings were found inside the car and she was fully clothed. She was not injured, outside of a bruise they think came from the GPS device in her car. 

She will be cremated once the autopsy is finished, the family said, and they plan to hold a church service in Wichita, KS. 

After weeks of painful searching, friends of the Wichita native say they're finding comfort in remembering the way she lived her life.

"When you walk into a room, you can just tell, your eyes just go to someone in the room, and it's because they're laughing or smiling or just you know just the light of the room. That's kinda how she was," Anderson's childhood friend Jessica Elting said.

"She was the focal point for most people I feel like," Cameron Pitzer, a woman friends with Anderson for eight years said. "You always knew where she was at because she was the brightest thing in there."

Coverage about the discovery of her car in the Missouri River near Platte Landing Park is below.


PREVIOUS COVERAGE:

Police and recovery teams have pulled Toni Anderson's car from the Missouri River.

A black SUV and a black car were found in the Missouri River in the Northland on Friday.

For the last several weeks, police have been conducting searches of the area hoping to find any clues as to where 20-year-old Toni Anderson might be.

Anderson was last seen driving a black Ford Focus and has not been heard from or seen since Jan. 15. She vanished after leaving a QuikTrip in North Kansas City.

Crews in boats and divers were searching for something underneath the water most of the day. Eventually, a large fire truck was brought in to help light the area. Then, a bigger search boat. 

The black SUV, a Lincoln Navigator, was not Anderson’s car. Kansas City police say the SUV is not connected to any of their investigations.

After finding the SUV, two more divers went into the river. After hours, the second vehicle was pulled out. 

Anderson's mother confirmed to KCTV5 News that the second vehicle is Anderson's car and said the license plates matched. 

A female body was found inside the car. On Sunday, Anderson's mother confirmed to KCTV5 News that it was the body of her daughter.

At 8:30 p.m., Anderson's car was towed away. Police didn't know if it was driven to that spot in the river or drifted there.

Platte Landing Park was closed while law enforcement continued to search the area. 

Anderson’s family did have the assistance of a nonprofit that used sonar in the river, which they did on Friday. 

Police have always said they had no indication of foul play and say the discovery has not changed that. 

The investigation is ongoing. 

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