Woman goes missing after being threatened by her ex-boyfriend

KANSAS CITY, MO – An ongoing search for a missing Independence woman has taken a tragic turn. Authorities believe they have finally discovered the remains of 44-year-old Ebony Duncan. The Independence Police Department, following up on tips and leads, located the remains in a wooded area near E. 83rd Street and Hillcrest Road in Kansas City on Halloween.

Cadaver dogs played a crucial role in locating the remains, which shared physical characteristics with Ebony Duncan, including height, weight, eye color, hair color, scars, marks, and tattoos, according to Officer Jack Taylor, the public information officer for the Independence Police Department.

Duncan’s family reported her missing on September 7, a day after she was last seen entering a silver sedan while leaving her job at Sunterra Springs, a senior living facility in Independence. Surveillance footage captured an image of the car. Authorities have since traced the silver sedan back to Duncan’s ex-boyfriend’s current girlfriend, 42-year-old Keaira Ransberg (Jenkins), whom they consider a person of interest in the case. Despite their interest in Ransberg, the police expressed concern for her safety as she had seemingly disappeared. Detectives wish to speak with Ransberg to gather any potential information related to Duncan’s case.

Charles Smith-Howell, Duncan’s ex-boyfriend, currently faces charges of illegal possession of ammunition and has pleaded not guilty. He remains in federal custody until his trial, scheduled for January 8. While Smith-Howell remains a suspect in Duncan’s disappearance, he has been uncooperative with detectives.

Court documents from September revealed that Duncan had confided in a co-worker about threats from a prior intimate partner or ex-boyfriend, expressing fears for her safety. An additional court document details how investigators began connecting the dots after Duncan’s daughter contacted Smith-Howell on Facebook. Smith-Howell allegedly made statements indicating he saw Ebony Duncan the night she disappeared.

Independence Police are leading the investigation with support from the Kansas City Police Department. While Duncan’s family was notified of the discovery on November 1, the medical examiner must make a positive identification of the remains before confirming they belong to Ebony Duncan. Nonetheless, all signs point to a tragic outcome.