PLATTSMOUTH -- Residents of Plattsmouth on Monday didn’t need official word from the FBI in reflecting on the lives of Charlotte and Owen Schilling.
“She was a great mom,” neighbor Michelle Andrews said, “always real active with her kids.”
A passer-by on Sunday night stumbled across two bodies -- an adult and a child -- at Lake Manawa State Park in Iowa, but they were too badly decomposed for immediate identification, so investigators could not confirm whether they were the 41-year-old Plattsmouth woman and her 10-year-old son, said spokeswoman Sandy Breault in the FBI’s Omaha office.
Authorities were waiting for autopsy results before releasing the names of the victims.
Andrews said she had prayed for the safe return of the Schillings, last seen May 10, but came home from a weekend camping trip to learn officials had found the two bodies at Lake Manawa, the place where authorities found Schilling’s car, and it all seemed to fit.
Still, she prayed for the woman she said was talkative, friendly and loved her kids.
Schilling enjoyed making a home for her husband, Carl, and their three kids: Tyler, Lindsay and Owen, Andrews said.
Schilling loved her dogs, pugs George and Gigi, and fawned over Jillibean, the Andrewses' Weimaraner. The two families took care of each other's dogs when one family was out of town.
“We bonded over dogs,” Andrews said.
Being neighborly didn’t stop there. The families helped each other out, with a cup of sugar here and a few tools there, and wouldn’t hesitate to lend a hand with the plumbing or air conditioning.
“Just helping when somebody needed something. We weren’t afraid to call each other to see if you had it or could help out.”
Christian Meneses’ relationship with Owen Schilling wasn’t so much about help as it was about roughhousing. The two boys hung out every day, said Christian, 8, who lives down the street. They used to wrestle on the trampoline.
“My mom calls me scrappy,” Christian said. “I guess he could be called scrappy, too.”
Christian said he was happy and sad that his friend was “on the other side.”
“We’ll miss him, won’t we?” asked Athena, Christian’s mom. “I really liked him. He was a good boy.”
Athena Meneses met Charlotte Schilling at Cub Scouts the night before she and Owen disappeared.
“She seemed really troubled.”
So is Plattsmouth, said Arlene Felix, who moved from Southern California to a house about a block down from the Schillings.
Felix works at Tobacco Plus on U.S. 75 and deals with a lot of customers every day. During the past week and a half, many have talked about the Schillings and what may have happened to them.
“They’re just shocked,” Felix said.