The body of an Oklahoma mother of six has been found by her cousin wrapped in a carpet and hidden in a ditch – days after she went on a date with a mystery 6-foot-1 man.
Makayla Fay Meave-Byers, 30, was found by her relative in a four-foot deep drain just miles from home after leaving with “a tall balding man with a dark-colored beard.”
The kindergarten teacher’s assistant, who was working toward a teaching certificate before her death, disappeared after leaving her home in Macomb, a small town of about 24 residents.
She was last seen on September 15 at approximately 5:30 p.m. wearing a Macomb Public School t-shirt that read “It’s a great day to be a Hornet,” jeans and a patchwork backpack.
She left voluntarily and got into a white Chevy extended cab pickup with tinted windows, the Pottawatomie County Sheriff’s Office said.
Makayla Fay Meave-Byers, 30, went missing from her Macomb home on September 15
She was last seen with an unknown man who was described as “tall,” “bald” and with a “dark beard”
The teacher was the mother of six children, two foster children and four stepdaughters
Her body was found just a few miles from her home, wrapped in a carpet and left in a drain
A search was launched when Meave-Byers did not return after 24 hours.
Law enforcement officers combed the area using infrared drones and sniffer dogs, but could find no trace of her.
Instead, Meave-Byers’ cousin, who was not named, was the one who called 911 after making the grim discovery on September 20.
The body was recovered from a culvert wrapped in what Pottawatomie County Undersheriff Travis Dinwiddie called soaked “old pieces of carpet.”
“We were walking through all the canals closest to the water and we smelled something and so my girlfriend went down and found her,” the cousin told 911 dispatchers shortly after discovering the body.
“She’s in it 100 percent.”
The medical examiner confirmed Meave-Byers’ identity on September 22.
Although there were no obvious signs of trauma, Dinwiddie said there was “definitely” foul play.
Family members insisted it was unusual for her to disappear, leaving behind her two adopted children, four stepdaughters and beloved dog.
“She’s a great mother, it’s all she cares about,” Andria Meave said KFOR.
She also remembered that the last thing her sister ever said to her was that she loved her.
Barbara Harper, Meave-Byers’ mother, told the station that her daughter’s phone was pinged within a three-mile radius of her home.
She posted on Facebook days before Meave-Byers was found dead: “Her family loves her very much and just wants her home. Mommy loves you, baby girl.”
Older sister Andria Meave described her as ‘an amazing mother’
The woman’s body was discovered by her cousin, who had participated in the search with a friend
During a panicked 911 call, the cousin told operators: ‘She’s in there at 100 percent’
Community members held a vigil outside a local high school, where they lit candles and sang in her memory
Friends and family held a vigil in front of Lexington High School the night of September 23.
Those in attendance lit candles, sang and recalled fond memories of the teacher.
A GoFundMe has been set up to help the family with funeral costs.
“Makayla was born on July 15, 1993. She grew up with a devoted mother and older sister, and many other family members who loved her so much,” the page read.
“With such a tragic and unexpected loss, the family could use help providing Makayla with the memorial service she deserves.”
Macomb Public Schools also released a statement honoring their late employee.
“Our hearts are heavy as we grieve this tragic loss of a beloved educator and parent of Macomb Public Schools,” a Facebook post said.
“Makayla cared deeply about our students and families and she will be deeply missed.
“We extend our sincere condolences to Makayla’s family, friends, students and everyone affected by this terrible loss.”