• Missing ballet dancer found dead in rural lake

    By: Shelby Lin Erdman, Cox Media Group National Content Desk

    Updated:

    ST. LOUIS, Mo. - A St. Louis ballet dancer was found in a rural Missouri lake Wednesday dead from unknown causes after she disappeared Tuesday, according to news reports.

    The body of Raffaella Maria Stroik, 23, was found in Mark Twain State Park, about 100 miles northwest of St. Louis, after a park ranger found her car in the park Tuesday, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reported.

    During a search of the park Wednesday, a pilot flying over the lake spotted her body. There were no obvious signs of foul play, the Post-Dispatch reported, citing the Missouri Highway Patrol, but authorities are continuing to investigate her death. 

    It’s unclear why she was at the park, but investigators believe her car had been there since at least Monday, CNN reported. She was last seen Monday morning at a Whole Foods store in suburban St. Louis.


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    The ballet company’s artistic director, Gen Horiuchi, issued a statement Wednesday on Stroik, who joined the company in September 2017.

    “She was a wonderful dancer and a beautiful person,” Horiuchi said. “We extend our condolences to her family. We are very sad over the loss of this talented and beautiful spirit.”

    Stroik had performed in company productions of “The Nutcracker,” “Giselle,” “Cinderella” and others.

    An autopsy on the ballerina was scheduled for Thursday.

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