FOX Files Podcast: Why did Donna Eye go missing?

WASHINGTON COUNTY, Mo. – A case that garnered national attention involving a Missouri mother and sheriff’s deputy is now the topic of a FOX Files podcast. Subscribe to more podcasts like this by searching for FOX 2 in your favorite podcast app.

Volunteers looking for Donna Eye, 44, discovered her body in the Mark Twain National Forest on January 17. A preliminary cause of death points to accidental hypothermia, however, the cause of death has not been finalized because the Mineral Area Major Case Squad is waiting on toxicology and other lab analyses.

Donna Eye, 44
Donna Eye, 44

Eye disappeared after being dropped off by a female Washington County Sheriff’s deputy on January 8. On January 11, her family filed a missing person’s report.

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According to a timeline released by authorities, Eye was released from Washington County Memorial Hospital around 6 p.m. on Jan. 8. Around 11:40 p.m., a female deputy gave her a ride to the area of Shirley School Road.

Investigators stated Eye requested to be dropped off at Shirley School Road and Forest Service Road 2375.

Eye’s brother, Ronald, thinks she was confused because his property is a half mile or mile down the road. He said she has a medical condition that sometimes limits her ability to walk and has mental health issues.

“Donna was not in any condition to make a decision for herself,” Ronald said.

After a FOX Files investigation into the woman’s disappearance, Washington County Sheriff Zach Jacobsen activated the Mineral Area Major Case Squad on January 15.

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Forest Rangers said they were never notified of Eye’s disappearance until the Mineral Area Major Case Squad activation.

“We will continue the push for accountability of the public entities involved and we don’t mean a smack on the hand,” Ronald wrote in a statement. “We mean the turning in of badges, the loss of licenses, credentials, and the formal charges of those public servants whose actions resulted in us mourning a life carelessly lost.”

Major Case Squad detectives will send their findings to the prosecutor for a review. Jacobsen said the prosecutor’s review will also include analyzing the deputy’s actions.

“The deputy was providing a community service by transporting her from the hospital to her residence,” Jacobsen said. “They get to Shirley School Road and Donna tells the deputy, ‘This is where I want out; this is the beginning of my driveway.’”

Jacobsen said he’ll order an internal investigation to determine if the deputy, who has been on the job for less than a year, violated any policies or procedures.

The sheriff said he wants an independent body to review the entire situation and determine whether civilians should be given rides in patrol vehicles.

“It should never be repeated without a solid review,” he said.

Jacobsen said he wants the independent group to question if it’s a service worth providing or if additional safeguards are needed.

The sheriff said he would encourage and “welcome” the entire case file to be released after the investigation is over and the case is closed.

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