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5-24-17

Toni Anderson’s death an accident
Her car and body were found in river at Parkville

by Valerie Verkamp
Landmark editor

The cause of death of 20-year-old Toni Anderson, the missing college student whose body was recovered from a submerged vehicle pulled from the Missouri River at Parkville, has been ruled accidental.

According to a Jackson County Medical Examiner's report, her cause of death was hypothermia and drowning. The report also listed several other contributing factors, including ethanol, cocaine and amphetamine intoxication.

Based upon the report, authorities say the investigation into her death is now closed.

Anderson's body was recovered on March 10 near the boat ramp inside Platte Landing Park in Parkville. Authorities say signals from Toni's cell phone, which was last detected in January, were used as a reference point in locating her body. Team Watters Sonar, a water recovery expert out of Illinois, detected her vehicle using a large magnet.

A dive team from the Missouri State Highway Patrol and the Kansas City Police Department spent about eight grueling hours attempting to extract Anderson's 2012 black Ford Focus and a dumped Lincoln Navigator from the root-entangled abyss.

Anderson was last seen alive in the early morning hours of Jan. 15 about seven miles east in North Kansas City.

Major Kevin Freeman with the North Kansas City Police Department said an officer pulled Anderson over in the 2600 block of Burlington for improper lane usage.

The officer gave her a verbal warning before letting her go. Police say the officer did not observe anything concerning to him the night of her disappearance.

Major Freeman said the officer that pulled Anderson over the night of her disappearance had been trained in DWI detection.

“There are many sensory clues that officers look for when trying to determine if a driver may be impaired prior to requesting the driver perform field sobriety tests. These include, but are not limited to, the smell of intoxicants, the driver's dexterity, physiological conditions of the eyes, answers to simple questions, etc.,” said Major Freeman. “All of our officers have been trained in DWI detection with this officer receiving his initial training from the Kansas City Regional Police Academy.”

In a five-minute police dashcam video released Tuesday, Anderson can be heard telling the officer she had been working at Chrome and was headed to Shady Lady.

"I am about to go downtown," said Anderson. When the officer tells Anderson she is driving into oncoming traffic, Anderson laughs.
The officer responds, "Not funny." He asks a second time if she had been drinking or is on any medication.

She tells the officer, "No, I am just really sick. I don't feel very good."

The officer tells Anderson to park at QuikTrip to gather herself before driving away.