(CBS/AP) PEORIA, Ill. - The missing person case of Tashyra McDowell has turned into a homicide investigation after police on Tuesday found the dead body of the 24-year-old Peoria woman stuck in a farmer's combine in a cornfield.
According to the Journal Star of Peoria, an autopsy on Wednesday found McDowell died of multiple gunshot wounds before being wedged into the farm equipment.
McDowell was the mother of a 7-year-old autistic boy who was found unattended Monday morning in the Illinois city, the newspaper reports. Later that day McDowell's car was found abandoned. Her mother, Twila Rutherford, says she last had contact with her daughter on Friday.
McDowell's son is now with Rutherford, who says the boy was her daughter's "pride and joy."
The Peoria County coroner pronounced McDowell dead Tuesday afternoon. It took authorities about two hours to disassemble the eight-row corn picker to remove her body.
McDowell's ex-boyfriend, 25-year-old Stephen Turner, was allegedly one of the last people to see her alive, and was placed in police custody Monday on weapons charges, the Journal Star reports. He was released on Wednesday.