A nationwide manhunt is underway after police recently discovered the body of a murdered Southeastern Illinois College student in a remote field, police said.
The Illinois State Police Division of Criminal Investigation is searching for Alexander McWilliam, who is wanted in connection with the March 13 shooting death of Mishealia Marie Meredith, 19.
Authorities cautioned that McWilliam, 36, should be considered armed and dangerous.
Meredith vanished on March 12 after speaking with her mother and telling her she was returning home on foot, but she never showed up, according to the Missing Persons Awareness Network.
A joint investigation between the Harrisburg Police Department and the Illinois State Police’s Division of Criminal Investigation led officers to a home in Eldorado, where they allegedly discovered evidence of a homicide, KFVS-TV reported.
On March 14, two days after Meredith disappeared, detectives located her body in an open field in Gallatin County, about 10 miles from the Eldorado house.
Gallatin County Coroner Tony Cox told the Southern Illinoisan that the site where Meredith’s body was found is extremely remote and the nearest home was up to half a mile away.
An autopsy showed the victim died from a gunshot wound to the head, according to KFVS-TV.
On Thursday afternoon, March 18, loved ones gathered in Harrisburg to say their goodbyes to Meredith.
A GoFundMe page set up by family describes the teenager as a “young, beautiful, and caring soul” who “left Earth too soon at the hands of another.”
“Mishealia's family and friends are left in pieces after such a [heinous] tragedy,” the page reads. “Mishealia did not deserve to die and her family was not prepared to have to deal with burying their baby girl.”
Anyone with information related to Mishealia Meredith’s death or Alexander McWilliam’s whereabouts is asked to call 911 or contact ISP Division of Criminal Investigation Zone 8 at ( 618) 542-2171.