Details of Disappearance
Megan was last seen sometime in September 1991 at her home west of Brooksville, Florida. She lived with her stepfather, Jesse James Schober, and her mother, Vicki Ann Schober (sometimes referred to by her later married name, Grossberndt). After her disappearance, Jesse and Vicki told others that Megan had been killed in a car accident. Later that year, they were evicted from their mobile home and left Florida. They eventually divorced and Megan's mother married another man. Photographs of the Schobers are posted below this case summary.
Megan's disappearance did not draw official notice until 2002, when Megan's paternal grandmother contacted the Hernando County Sheriff's Office and asked them to find her. She had looked for records of the child's supposed accidental death and could not find any death certificate, cemetery plot or news articles about the alleged accident. Investigators interviewed Megan's mother and stepfather, who gave conflicting accounts of what happened to Megan. An acquaintance of theirs told police that Megan was dead and buried in the woods. Authorities were initially unable to file charges without Megan's body.
A cold case squad was assigned to Megan's case. They interviewed people who knew the Schoebers, and social workers who had had contact with them, over a period of months. Vicki and Jesse were arrested and charged with Megan's murder in August 2003. Vicki pleaded no contest to aggravated child abuse and agreed to testify against Jesse in return for a six-year sentence; there was no evidence to tie her to her daughter's death, but she admitted she was responsible because she did not seek medical help for the child after she was injured. She stated that Jesse became enraged by Megan's splashing in the bathtub and hit her head on the side of the tub, and the child was knocked unconscious and died several days later. Jesse put her body in a sleeping bag and burned and buried the remains in the woods west of Brooksville.
Jesse had been charged with first-degree murder in connection with Megan's disappearance, but in January 2005 he reached a plea deal with prosecutors. He pleaded guilty to a reduced charge of second-degree murder and was sentenced to twenty-five years in prison. He will be eligible for parole in 2016. If convicted of the original charge, Jesse could have been sentenced to sixty years in prison. He led authorities to the spot where he says he disposed of Megan's body, but nothing was found there. Vicki was paroled in September 2006 and now lives in Wisconsin.
Megan's remains have not been found, but foul play is suspected in her disappearance due to the circumstances involved. Investigators are continuing to search for her body.
Left: Jesse Schober;
Right: Vicki Schober