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Woman found dead in barrel was ‘witness’ to kidnapping in Missouri. Officials say there may be another barrel.

Authorities believe there may be another barrel in the Missouri River of more evidence linked to the case of a white man charged last year with kidnapping, raping and holding a black woman captive in the basement of his home in a suburb of Kansas City, officials said Thursday.

The announcement comes after the remains of a black woman described by authorities as a “potential witness” to the alleged kidnapping were found in a blue barrel in the river.

“We have asked the public to remain vigilant for suspicious objects, such as blue barrels, especially on or around the Missouri River,” said Alexander Higginbotham, a spokesman for the Clay County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office. “We have reason to believe that there may be additional evidence in another blue vessel that could be on the Missouri River.”

The house where neighbors raised the alarm in Excelsior Springs, Mo. (Sarah Plake / KSHB)

In an email, Higginbotham did not provide additional details about the evidence authorities are seeking, and did not respond to a question about whether race played a role in the alleged crimes.

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After announcing the discovery of the second woman, Jaynie Crosdale, prosecutors said Monday that the previously set $3 million bail amount for Timothy Haslett Jr. was insufficient to ensure the safety of the community and the victim.

Haslett was indicted in February on nine charges, including rape, sodomy and kidnapping. He has pleaded not guilty.

A judge denied the bail application, and prosecutors have not charged Haslett in connection with Crosdale’s death. Haslett’s attorney did not respond to a request for comment.

In a statement Monday, the prosecutor’s office said Crosdale was “in” Haslett’s home before his Oct. 7 arrest. Attempts to reach Crosdale’s relatives failed.

The Excelsior Springs Police Department identified Crosdale as a possible witness in Haslett’s case in January and asked the public to find her. Authorities said at the time they believed Crosdale had “information about the investigation.”

Citing an ongoing investigation, Higginbotham declined to say whether it was still appropriate to describe Crosdale as a witness and whether charges against her death would follow.

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“However, our office is working closely with law enforcement to gather all the evidence and information necessary to build the strongest possible case and bring justice to Jaynie Crosdale,” he said. “We will continue to rapidly and aggressively pursue evidence in this case and hope to provide the public with more information in the near future.”

Higginbotham said the county’s chief prosecutor Zachary Thompson and a deputy prosecutor joined the Missouri Highway Patrol on Tuesday to familiarize themselves with the area where Crosdale was found.

Her body was identified July 30 after kayakers spotted the blue barrel in Saline County, east of Haslett’s home in Excelsior Springs. Higginbotham declined to provide additional details about the search.

In the previous case, a 22-year-old woman escaped from Haslett’s home with a padlocked metal collar around her neck and duct tape over her mouth, authorities said in a presumptive statement.

The woman told authorities that Haslett picked her up in Kansas City in early September and accused him of raping, flogging and handcuffing her for weeks, the statement said.

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She escaped when Haslett dropped off his child at school, the document says, and begged for help from neighbors. A neighbor, Ciara Tharpe, recalled the woman saying that other friends who had also been held captive “didn’t make it.”

This article was originally published on NBCNews.com

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