By Carey Codd

MIAMI (CBSMiami) – The body of a missing Coral Springs woman was found buried in a backyard in Mississippi.

Police in Mississippi confirmed the worst fears of family members of missing Coral Springs woman, Sarah Jane Willard.

Investigators said they discovered her body on Valentine’s Day in a Mississippi town buried in the backyard of the home of a Mississippi man, Phillip York.

Police believe Willard met York online. Coral Springs Police said Willard left her Coral Springs apartment that she shared with her husband on October 28. Her husband told police that when he awoke the next day “she was gone and had packed bags and taken all of her belongings with her,” according to a Coral Springs Police incident report.

But the behavior was not unusual for her.

Her husband told police that his wife would usually be in contact with him or her mother when she traveled to meet with online friends.

“Sarah has left home before in the past, but never for this long and never without any contact with either party for six weeks,” the Coral Springs Police report read.

Willard’s husband said he texted with his wife the day after she left their home but did not talk to her again. He told police that cellphone records show she did not make a call or text after October 29 and that her last credit card transaction was at a Pizza Hut on November 1 in an unknown location.

Willard’s husband told Coral Springs police that his wife suffered from mental illness and he worried she wasn’t taking her medication.

It’s not clear when or where Willard met with York after she departed Coral Springs nor have police released details surrounding her death.

Willard’s husband and mother told police that they did not immediately file a missing person’s report because of Willard’s past decisions to leave for a week or two at a time to meet with people she met online.

The Coral Springs Police Department said they received a missing persons report on Sarah Jane Willard back in December. That was about six weeks after Willard left her Coral Springs apartment.

The police report said her husband and mother “waited so long to contact police because of her history of leaving town, but this extensive time frame is very concerning to both of them.”

York is in jail on $350,000 bond. He is charged with murder and with being a felon in possession of a firearm. Mississippi authorities say York previously did 10 years in prison for stabbing a woman in Virginia.

Carey Codd

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