Memorial fund set up for woman found in rural cornfield

By Denise Jackson

September 14, 2012 Updated Sep 17, 2012 at 10:21 AM CDT

PEORIA, Ill. -- The Peoria County Sheriff's Office continues to investigate the death of a young woman whose body was found in a cornfield earlier this week.

Authorities say Tashyra McDowell was reported missing after she and her 7-year-old son, who is autistic, failed to return from a shopping trip last Friday.

On Monday, police located the boy on the East Bluff.

On Tuesday, afternoon a farmer working in his field, discovered McDowell's body after it became caught in his cornpicker in Edelstein.

Authorities say she had been shot several times.

Just what her autistic son may or may not have seen is unclear, but one local speech therapist says his level of autism and other factors could hinder his ability to communicate with authorities.

"A lot of times, kids with autism also have other delays or difficulties with speech that are due to motor planning so sometimes their ability to say words is effected as well as their ability to communicate in general," said Easter Seals Central Illinois Speech Therapist Rebecca Rock.

In the meantime, a trust fund has been set up at CEFCU for Tashyra McDowell and her son.

Donations can be made at any CEFCU location.

Funeral services are set for Tuesday morning at Greater City of Refuge Worship Center at 11:00 a.m. with the visitation set for one hour before the service.

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