Police unknowingly interact with missing Pevely woman armed with gun

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by Lindsay Bramson / News 4

KMOV.com

Posted on August 22, 2013 at 9:09 PM

Updated Friday, Aug 23 at 7:55 AM

(KMOV) -- Authorities in Jefferson County found a body earlier Thursday near Brandon Wallace Drive and Scenic Dr. in Festus. While a positive identification hasn’t been made yet, police believe the body to be that of 60-year-old Deborah Rawlins who’s been missing all week.

News 4 learned police actually saw Rawlins the night she went missing. The big question is why officers would let a woman suffering from dementia; Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease go?

Deborah Rawlins, 60, was last seen Saturday walking on Highway 61-67 near her home in Pevely.

News 4 learned just hours before she went missing, officers in Herculaneum came across Rawlins. She was in an argument with her husband who was reportedly on the other side of the street.  

Police said they were screaming at one another, Rawlins even told officers she had a gun on her. However, after a few minutes police left.

Herculaneum Police Chief Mark Tulgetske said, “she was coherent and able to communicate what her desires were and what she wanted to do so they let them go on their way.”

News 4’s Lindsay Bramson asked, “Should your officers have left with the situation being what it was?”

“I’m not going to speculate right now because I’ve been involved in a search all week long and I haven’t talked to those officers as of yet,” said Chief Tulgetske.

However, it’s been several days since Rawlins went missing and that information could have been pertinent to the search. Especially since they let her walk away with a gun. “Were these officers possibly in a position to prevent something from happening to her? I don’t know that.”

As of Thursday night it’s still unclear if the body found is that of Deborah Rawlins but it has been confirmed that police have called off the search.

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