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Investigators "confident" they recovered missing woman's body

Reported by: Jamie Smith
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Updated: 4/30/2013 11:40 pm

ST. AUGUSTINE, Fla. -- As daylight dimmed outside the Village Inn restaurant in St. Augustine on Tuesday night, so did the mood inside where waitress Barbara Parchem worked for two decades before suddenly disappearing in early April. The restaurant staff is just now finding out they'll never see their friend again.

"It's like a knife went through my heart," said Silvia Marie, a waitress who worked alongside Parchem for years.

Investigators trying for weeks to locate the missing grandmother got a tip to search an area along the Flagler-St. Johns county border Tuesday morning. A few feet from a dirt road in a remote wooded area of Flagler Estates, investigators uncovered human remains.

Due to the clothes the victim was wearing, St. Johns County Undersheriff Joel Bolante told Action News he's fairly certain the body they recovered is the 67-year-old grandmother from Vermont Heights.

"I can't give you a percentage, but we are pretty confident we are looking at Ms. Barbara Parchem," said Bolante.

Detectives from the St. Johns County Sheriff's Office say they have evidence indicating Parchem was murdered.

At a news conference Tuesday evening, Bolante said, "There's evidence indicating we may be dealing with a homicide."

Detectives say they found a "person of interest" in this case and had that person in for questioning on Tuesday.

The St. Johns County Sheriff's Office is coordinating the investigation with the Flagler County Sheriff's Office because the body was recovered across the county line in Flagler.

Parchem was reported missing in early April when she failed to show up for work.

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