The search is on for a 15-year-old Missouri girl's killer after her body was found floating in Truman Lake.

The Benton County Sheriff said Khighla L. Parks, of Willard, MO, is a homicide victim. Parks' body was weighted down in the lake at one point, but was later found floating by a boater near Warsaw, MO.

Parks was last seen at 5 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 20 walking near her home, which is located near North State Highway AB and West State Highway EE in Northwest Greene County. Her body was found in Truman Lake on Sunday.

Investigators didn't make the connection right away between the body and the missing girl, but after broadening their search into others counties, Parks came up as one possibility. Friends and family were hoping DNA tests would rule her out. Now, all that they can hope is to find out who killed her and why.

The posters and flyers had been up around the Springfield-area town of Willard for a week.

Officially, Parks was a runaway, but her best friend said she was more like a free spirit.

"She didn't like to stay at home. She was always wandering around, but she normally always stayed in the area," Donald Yates said.

And she normally didn't stay gone long. Police said she left four times in six weeks and was never gone more than a couple days.

But that changed after she told friends she was going a cemetery Sept. 20, two weeks ago.

"She's usually never gone that long and I didn't really know what to think after that," Yates said.

It was 10 days later, 85 miles and several counties away where boaters found her, floating in Truman Lake, despite someone's attempt to weigh her down.

Investigators have yet to indicate whether she was drowned or killed prior to being taken to the lake.

Her family members did not want to talk to the news media Friday. They were still very upset by the news.

Anybody with information about Parks' death is asked to call one of the following numbers:

Benton County Sheriff's Office at 660-438-5252, Greene County Sheriff's Office at 417-868-4040, Missouri State Highway Patrol Troop A at 816-622-0800 or Missouri State Highway Patrol Troop D at 417-895-6868.

Click here for previous coverage on this story.

Copyright 2012 KCTV (Meredith Corp.) All rights reserved.



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