- The Washington Times - Wednesday, January 15, 2003

SAN ANTONIO, Jan. 15 (UPI) — Texas Rangers believe a body found near San Antonio may be that of Susan McFarland, an SBC Corp. executive who has been missing since before Thanksgiving.

"We believe it may be her," Ranger Lt. Jim Denman told reporters Tuesday night.

The discovery capped a day of fast moving developments in the search for the woman whose disappearance sparked weeks of searches and nationwide media attention.

Early Tuesday, Texas Department of Protective and Regulatory Services officials removed McFarland's three children from the custody of her husband, Richard, who has been identified in court records as "the prime suspect" in her disappearance. They cited "imminent threats" in removing the children.

Later in the day, Richard McFarland was arrested on charges of auto theft and tampering with evidence in the case. He was not charged in his wife's disappearance, but bond was set at $450,000 on the other charges. He remained in jail early Wednesday.

A search warrant unsealed in December disclosed that blood stains were found in the McFarland home in the upscale San Antonio suburb of Terrell Hills. It also stated that Susan McFarland had demanded a divorce shortly before she vanished and that investigators believe that she was killed.

The body, burned beyond recognition, was found late Tuesday on an abandoned farm in southeast Bexar County after a tipster informed authorities that they had seen "suspicious vehicles" in the location around the time Susan McFarland vanished.

A spokeswoman for the Bexar County Medical Examiner's office said Wednesday she had been "ordered by the Texas Rangers" not to divulge any information about the body. A final identification was expected later Wednesday.

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