Thirteen years after Megan Nicole Shultz, 24, was last seen alive, her husband walked into a Wisconsin police station where he confessed to killing her in the heat of an argument and discarding her body in a dumpster.
Keith Comfort, 37, first reported his wife missing in Columbia, Missouri, on August 5, 2006. He told officers he’d last seen her 24 hours earlier as she left their apartment barefoot after they had an argument.
Shultz, who had a young child with Comfort at the time of her disappearance, was considered missing for more than a decade but authorities did not suspect foul play.
However, that all changed when Comfort waked into the Lake Geneva Police Department on Sunday and confessed to her murder.
Recounting that fateful day, Comfort told officers he’d been at work when Shultz called him ‘in hysterics’, claiming to have just ripped someone off in a drug deal.
He said a colleague immediately gave him a lift back to his home on Amelia Street, but as he walked through the front door Shultz became ‘frantic, yelling and “swinging” her arms at him,’ according to police documents.
Comfort said he first grabbed his wife by the arms, then by the neck, and forced her to the ground, where he strangled her.
When he realized Shultz had stopped breathing, he told officers he placed her body in a black trash bag and then threw it in a shared dumpster at the couple’s apartment complex.
Comfort reported his wife missing the next day only after her mother, Debra, began quizzing him on her daughter’s whereabouts.
He explained to police that his missing wife was five-foot-nine, 120 pounds with brown eyes. He insisted that she had been wearing a pink tank top and white Capri pants with nothing on her feet when she vanished out the front-door without a trace.
The couple also shared a young daughter together – who was just a baby at the time – making Shultz’s untimely disappearance all the more baffling, according to Comfort.
At the time, police noticed how Comfort had a round bruise and a scratch on his bicep but he explained it away, saying he had sustained the injuries in an argument.
Three weeks later, with searches still being conducted for his missing wife, Comfort filed for divorce.
In the months that followed without a trace of Shultz, Columbia Police maintained they didn’t suspect foul play and that the case wasn’t being investigated as a criminal matter.
But Debra – Shultz’s mother – says she always had her suspicions of her former son-in-law, never quite buying his version of events.
‘I knew he had killed her,’ she told the Columbia Missourian. ‘But I couldn’t prove it.’
Debra went on to describe Comfort as a ‘troubled young man’, but one who could ‘smile and put on the charm’.
‘I hired detectives, I talked to bounty hunters and retired marshals. I searched from one end of the country to the other,’ she said of the relentless 13-year search to find her daughter.
‘That was very frustrating for many years. I just felt like something had happened in that apartment that one fateful night, and it did. Her life ended in that apartment on Amelia Street.’
Officers arrived at Debra’s home at 9pm on Sunday, to tell her that Comfort had confessed to killing her daughter.
Debra says she now feels a lot of emotion and some relief, but she knows the story is far from over.
‘As the years go by, you want to hope that she is happy and living a good life some place out there, but deep down you know that she is gone,’ Shultz said. ‘She was a beautiful girl and she was very talented musically.’
She says she hasn’t seen her granddaughter in more than 10 years after Comfort gained full custody of her not long after Shultz’s disappearance and moved out of state.
Debra now says she hopes to get custody of the girl, but insists she just wants what is best for her granddaughter.
Comfort is currently being held in custody at Walworth County Sheriff’s Office with a $1 million cash only bond.