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  • Writer's pictureRoger Sims, Journal Staff

Body discovered in remote hayfield identified as missing Lawrence man

Updated: Oct 6, 2022

A body identified as Garrett Russell, a former Fontana-area resident, was found by Linn County Sheriff's Office deputies in a remote hayfield off of Iliff Road just south of the Miami County line. (Roger Sims/Linn County Journal) Below right, a photo of Russell supplied by the Ottawa Police Department after his family reported him missing.

MOUND CITY – The Linn County Sheriff's Office announced on Friday, Sept. 16, that a body found in a remote hayfield was that of a missing Lawrence man who was a former Fontana area resident.

In a brief release, Linn County Sheriff Kevin Friend said that the identity of the man was made from forensic evidence. He was identified as Garrett Russell, a 30-year-old man from Lawrence who was reported missing by family members on Aug. 31.

Friend gave no indication how Russell died and said that the investigation into his death would continue. He said that his department's thoughts and prayers went out to Russell's family.

On the evening of Wednesday, Sept. 7, Linn County investigators were called after the body was discovered in a hay field near Middle Creek on a minimum maintenance section of Iliff Road just south of the Miami County line.

According to Friend, a vehicle was found in a wooded area some distance from the body and personal items were scattered about the property. Friend said that the body was “collected and sent for forensic analysis.”

The Ottawa Police Department in a separate release indicated that the vehicle found in Linn County – a white, 2000 Toyota Camry – belonged to Russell.

According to the release, Russell was last seen on a surveillance video leaving his home on Aug. 24. The police also said that the Lawrence man may have been in the Osawatomie area between Aug. 24 and Sept. 2.

In his release on Thursday, Friend said that his personnel returned to the area on Thursday during daylight hours to search for any other items.

“Detectives are being assisted by the Drone Operations Unit to fully search the property as it is a large area,” the release continued. “Linn County Detectives are working with the Ottawa Police Department on the investigation as we believe there may be a connection with a case from their jurisdiction.

Former teachers at the now-closed Fontana Elementary School, Janet Reynolds and Brian Uphoff, remembered Garrett and his twin brother, Dalton, who attended school there. Both said they remembered that his mother died while he attended there.

Classmates also recalled that he and his brother attended Prairie View Middle School. The brothers moved to the Pomona, Kan., area and attended West Franklin High School. Kyndrah Lickteig of Paola said she remembered that Garrett returned to Prairie View for a while during his junior year but did not return his senior year.

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