Public Safety

Missing Marshalltown teen with autism discovered dead in remote area

Family said she had autism and medical issues

Jazmin Reyes Raya (Photo from Marshalltown Police Department)
Jazmin Reyes Raya (Photo from Marshalltown Police Department)

MARSHALLTOWN — A Marshalltown teenager whose family said she had autism and who had been missing since Friday was found dead Monday in a remote area of the Iowa River.

Marshalltown police Chief Mike Tupper said the body of Jazmin Reyes Raya, 18, was found about 10 a.m. after days of searching. He said no foul play was suspected, but the investigation would continue.

Her family said she was autistic and had other medical issues with seizures. She was last seen Friday evening near Fifth and Hughes streets, not far from the river.

“We are heartbroken to hear of the devastating news of the passing of former Marshalltown student Jazmin Reyes Raya,” the Marshalltown Community School District said in a statement. “She will be dearly missed. School district counselors and other staff have been in touch with the family and will continue to offer support in their time of need.”

The investigation and search included the Marshalltown Police Department, Division of Criminal Investigation, Marshall County Sheriff’s Office, Marshalltown Fire Department, Star 1 Search & Rescue and private search and rescue dog team handlers, among others.

“The police department sincerely appreciates the innumerable hours put in by all of these partners during the search for Jazmin,” police said in a statement. “These agencies all provided exceptionally professional service under very difficult conditions.”

The disappearance of an autistic teen evoked the case of Jake Wilson, 16, from La Porte City, who also had autism.

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Jake went missing April 7, 2018, after he told his family he was going for a walk but did not return. After a massive search and several false sightings of him in other states, kayakers found his remains along Wolf Creek near his home. Foul play was not suspected in the case, either.

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