Details of Disappearance
Teresa disappeared from her residence in the the 9500 block of west Chenango Avenue in Denver, Colorado on February 24, 2006. She was reported missing by her employer at Emily Griffith Opportunity School after she failed to show up for work, which is uncharacteristic of her.
Initially, it was reported that Teresa left her home voluntarily and was headed to Cleveland, Ohio; Chicago, Illinois; and/or Dallas Texas. However, her disappearance was considered unusual, as she has no history of leaving without warning, and she left behind her fifteen-year-old daughter and two adult children.
Teresa's husband, Frank Schilt, also disappeared on March 14, 2006. A photographs of Frank is posted with this case summary. He left Denver to drive to a job interview in Little Rock, Arkansas and did not return as scheduled.
Frank was initially listed as missing under suspicious circumstances like his wife, but investigators came to believe he had murdered her and fled to avoid arrest. He had told inconsistent stories about Teresa's disappearance to his daughter and others.
Frank was arrested in the Ouachita National Forest in Arkansas at the end of March 2006; tracker dogs led police to his location just he was about to try to hang himself. He was initially charged only with burglary and trespassing, but he was quickly charged with murdering Teresa as well.
Frank confessed that he had murdered his wife after they argued about finances; he was over $230,000 in debt. Several days after her death, he wrapped her body up and placed it in a dumpster near his home.
Frank stated he subsequently tried to commit suicide with carbon monoxide at his house while his teenage daughter was at home, and she became sick as a result. As a result, he was charged with the attempted murder of his daughter because his suicide attempt endangered her life also.
In May 2007, Frank pleaded guilty to second-degree murder in connection with Teresa's death. In exchange for his guilty plea, prosecutors dropped the first-degree murder charge against him related to Teresa, and the charge of attempting to murder his daughter. He was formally sentenced to 44 years in prison in August 2007.
Frank stated he and Teresa were arguing when he pushed her, and she struck her head on the bed and died. He said he did not intend to cause her death. He wrapped her body in a blanket and kept it in the trunk of his car for several days before putting it in a trash bin.
Authorities believe Teresa's remains are in a Denver-area landfill, but a two-month search turned up no sign of her body. Some incriminating items were found in Frank's vehicle, however.
Teresa is described as a dedicated parent who would not have willingly abandoned her children. Foul play is suspected in her case due to the circumstances involved.