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Body found Wednesday confirmed to be missing Portsmouth woman

Posted at 12:23 PM, Jun 12, 2015
and last updated 2015-06-12 17:16:37-04

Portsmouth, Va. - The body found Wednesday at Tejo Lane and Silver Maple Drive in Portsmouth has been identified as 32-year-old Kathleen "Katie" Barham.

Barham had been missing since May 27th around 10:30 p.m. when she went to wash a load of clothing in her apartment building in the 6500 block of Bickford Lane.

Her body was found early Wednesday morning in a wooded area just a street away from where she was last seen.

"It is unimaginably devastating. No one expects to be standing here talking about this having happened to a member of their family. Everybody thinks it happens to other people but it can happen to anyone," says Katie's aunt, Carol Whitener.

At this time, her death is being considered suspicious. A cause of death has not yet been determined by the Medical Examiner.

Her cause of death is just just one of many unanswered questions for Katie's family. One of the biggest is the why it took so long for a detective to be put on the case.

Katie's boyfriend, Rich Fegan, says he reported her missing but it took days before a detective was assigned. The police chief is doing an internal investigation to figure out what happened.

Fegan didn't tell Katie's family she was missing until he reported her missing to police.

“I just didn’t want to jump the gun and make everyone concerned for her before I was sure there was a problem,” Fegan says.

"None of us knew. Or we would have been all over it knocking on doors and we would have been doing what we have been doing which is trying to get something solved and make something happen," Whitener says.

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