The case of Anastasia Witbolsfeugen, an 18-year-old Independence woman found shot in the head in Lincoln Cemetery in Blue Summit on Oct. 23, 1997, is still an open investigation with the Jackson County Sheriff`s Department.
She would have been 19 next Tuesday. As a birthday present, her father, Robert Witbolsfeugen of Independence, is raising the reward money offered for information in the case from $10,000 to $15,000.
"We`re appealing to anyone for any information on the case that can lead to solving it," he said.
"We don`t care if they are actually able to prosecute someone,`` he said. ``We`re just looking for answers and closure to the whole situation."
According to the Sheriff`s Department, one of the difficulties in solving the case is that the last person she was seen with was her boyfriend, 20-year-old Justin Bruton, who died of a self-inflicted gunshot two days after Witbolsfeugenon`s death.
Bruton`s suicide left unanswered questions about both deaths. Did Bruton kill himself because of guilt associated with Anastasia`s death? Did he even know that she had been slain?
Robert Witbolsfeugen told police Bruton had called him around 10 p.m. the night before police found Anastasia`s body. He said Bruton told him that he and Anastasia had argued, and she got out of his car near Interstate 435 and Truman Road.
Once the Sheriff`s Department identified Anastasia, deputies tried to contact Bruton. His body was found at about 1 p.m. on Oct. 25, laying next to a shotgun he had bought earlier that day.
So the information that Bruton may or may not have had will never be known, but in the mean time, Anastasia`s family would like help in solving the crime.
Robert Witbolsfeugen established a web site on the Internet in Anastasia`s memory that features her favorite music, some of her poetry and information on the homicide. It`s at
Anyone with any information about the case is encouraged to call the TIPS hot line at 474-TIPS.