Carly Schaaf Update: Thursday marks eight weeks since body was found, still no answers

Published: Aug. 4, 2021 at 10:42 PM CDT|Updated: Aug. 5, 2021 at 9:41 AM CDT
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LINCOLN, Neb. (KOLN) - Thursday marks eight weeks since the body of Carly Schaaf was found at Pawnee Lake.

The family said the one thing they do know is that police told them they have a person of interest. Investigators wouldn’t confirm that. LPD said they don’t have a cause of death, and it’s premature to make any assumptions.

Meanwhile, a family is still waiting for some sense of closure. For the last two months, Carly Schaaf’s family has been told that there is no new information.

Lancaster County Sheriff Terry Wagner said it typically takes about six weeks for autopsy results to come back, but right now there’s no estimation for when they’re going to be available.

The Lancaster County Sheriff’s Office oversees roughly 1,800 coroner investigations a year.

“Normal circumstances... toxicology takes between 4-6 weeks,” said Sheriff Terry Wagner. “Some of them are very complex if it’s a homicide some of them are less involved if it’s an expected death in a home.”

The 23-year-old went missing on May 17. She was found three weeks later on June 10. Her body was recovered in a field at Pawnee Lake.

“We’re still waiting for cause and manner of death,” said Sheriff Wagner.

10/11 NOW spoke with Carly’s Aunt Amee Tontegode. She said LPD detectives check in on them weekly, but it’s difficult not getting answers.

“The minute they walk up our hearts just drop like ‘Is today the day we’re getting information?’” said Tontegode. “It’s just really frustrating. They tell us up to 6 weeks... well why is it taking this long?”

Wagner said it’s not concerning that the results are taking longer, but knows it’s an emotional time as Carly’s family wants to give her justice.

“Sometimes it’s frustrating, but there’s nothing you can do about it,” said Sheriff Wagner.

“We know when we hear the report that it’s going to start a whole other hurting process,” said Tontegode. “It won’t bring her back. No, but we need to get her justice no matter what.”

The pathologist will make the decision on cause and manner of death. A hard copy is then mailed to the Sheriff’s Office. Wager expects them to call him to inform him they’re done and then mail the results. He adds they’ll publish the results as soon as they get them as long as they don’t jeopardize the investigation.

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