Authorities discovered the body of a Faulkner County woman who has been missing since Saturday in rural Jefferson County on Wednesday.
Elvia Frgastein, 71 of Wooster, was found by a Jefferson County resident around 10 a.m. Wednesday, officials said in a news conference Friday afternoon. The Faulkner County Sheriff's Office, who was investigating the missing person case along with the Conway Police Department, ID'd Fragstein's body.
Faulkner County Sheriff Tim Ryals called the death a homicide but declined to give the manner of death as the investigation is ongoing. He said there were no suspects or persons of interest as of Friday afternoon.
Ryals said authorities "are relatively confident she was taken by force" in the TJ Maxx parking lot shortly before 4 p.m. Saturday afternoon. Her 2013 silver Honda CRV with the license plate 453 TGO has not been found. If anyone sees the vehicle or has any information, they are asked to call police at 501-328-5906 or 501-450-6120.
"It's a heartbreaking situation we're encountered with," Ryals said.
CPD Chief Jody Spradlin said the department will have foot patrols and a strong presence at shopping centers and more in the coming weeks to help ease residents's concerns.
"We have beefed up our security," he said, likening in to CPD's annual Operation Shop Secure where the city approves $50,000 in overtime to have extra officers on hand.
When 71-year-old Fragstein didn't return home from shopping in Conway, her husband called police. The Faulkner County Sheriff's Office opened a missing person's case and asked residents for any information they could contribute.
FCSO investigators pulled Fragstein's financial records to track her movements and obtained surveillance footage from at least two retailers where she made purchases -- a Starbucks inside Kroger on Salem Road and the TJ Maxx in the Conway Commons Shopping Center.
They were able to determine from timestamps on surveillance footage of Fragstein leaving the TJ Maxx and subsequent footage of her CRV leaving the parking lot that the vehicle was traveling at a higher rate of speed than what would be expected. During Friday's conference, Ryals described it as "her car raced out of the TJ Maxx parking lot."
On Wednesday, a Jefferson County resident called that sheriff's department to report finding a body. Lt. John Bean of the Jefferson County Sheriff's Department declined to release where the body was found, noting only that it was "a rural area in Jefferson County." Pine Bluff is the largest city and the county seat in Jefferson County.
The FCSO, CPD, Jefferson County Sheriff's Department and Arkansas State Police are actively investigating the homicide.