Bates County Sheriff confirms remains found in field are of woman, missing for nearly a year

Joplin News First

Forensic anthropologists will now work to determine Nicole Mallat's cause of death. Results could take 14 - 16 weeks state authorities. Family says they are willing to wait.

BUTLER, Mo. — The Bates County Sheriff’s Office says the remains found in early November belong to a woman who has been missing for nearly a year. The body of Nicole Mallatt was found Nov. 3 in a bean field in a rural southwestern part of the county. 

Law enforcement was alerted to the remains by a person who found a piece of clothing that potentially had human remains with it. 

Detectives from the Sheriff’s Office and officials with the Missouri State Highway Patrol’s Division of Drug and Crime Control responded to the area.

RELATED: Tip about clothing in a bean field leads to discovery of human remains in Bates County

After they confirmed human remains were there, they contacted the Bates County Coroner Greg Mullinax, who started working with a forensic anthropology team from Washburn University to search for more remains.

Forensic autopsy confirmed the remains belonged to Mallatt. Her body will now be sent to Washburn University in Topeka to be examined by a team of forensic anthropologists to determine her cause of death. 

Mallatt disappeared under suspicious circumstances late last year. 

She was last seen alive at her house in rural Butler, Missouri on Nov. 26, 2019. 

Bates County Sheriff Chad Anderson confirmed last year that Mallatt had been living with a boyfriend for the last 18 years, and the two have three children together.

Mallatt’s family claimed at the time that she had been a victim of domestic violence at the hands of her boyfriend, but the sheriff says the boyfriend has been cooperating in the investigation.

Investigators have not officially named a suspect or announced any arrests in the case.

You’ll remember last year Joplin’s Newton County Rescue and Recovery were requested to assist Bates County to search a drainage ditch near where Mallets cell phone and shoes were found. That search came up unfounded.

RELATED: Family won’t give up. “We’re not going to stop, just like we didn’t stop looking for her.”

It could be 14 – 16 weeks before investigators will be able to determine the cause of death for Mallatt.

Sarah Messick, Mallat’s sister-in-law, says, “We’re OK with waiting because we want them to take their time and look over her and make sure they don’t miss anything,” she said.

While the family waits, they’re hopeful a thorough investigation will give them the answers and closure they’ve waited nearly a year for.

“We’re not going to stop, just like we didn’t stop looking for her. We’re not going to stop fighting to figure out what happened and get justice,” Messick said.

The facebook group created in January 2020 dedicated to finding Nicole in it’s latest post states now they are seeking Justice for Nicole.

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