Megan Pratt, 3, went missing more than 20 years ago in Hernando County

HERNANDO COUNTY - With angelic blonde hair that slightly curled and bright blue eyes, Megan Pratt, 3, was quite an eye-catching baby.

It is up for speculation how Megan would look today.  She was last seen alive 21 years ago at her parents' home in Brooksville. 

In the past two decades, her stepfather, Jesse Schober pleaded guilty to second degree murder in the case.  That happened in 2005 after Megan's mother Vickie testified that Jesse slammed Megan's head against the bathtub because she was splashing around. Megan was knocked unconscious and died three days later, according to her mother.

Schober told police he put Megan's body in a sleeping bag, burned it and then buried it somewhere in their yard.  When he led deputies on to the property, they were unable to find Megan's body.

Subsequent searches, even one with a well-trained cadaver dog did not turn up her remains.

The three-year-old's disappearance has always stayed with Hernando County deputies.  On Tuesday, they headed back to what used to be the Schober home. 

This time, they came armed with anthropologists from the University of South Florida and a ground penetrating radar machine. 

Ground penetrating radar or GPR is essentially an X-ray machine for the ground.  Radar waves are sent through soil or concrete and reflect back images onto an LCD screen. 

Those images are then read and can reveal changes in soil, where there are gaps or where an object is located or buried.

"They are trying to get closure for the family," said Denise Moloney, Hernando County Sheriff's Office spokesperson.  "Get closure for the family so they can put this behind them."

Megan's paternal grandmother called police in January 2002, ten years after Vickie and Jesse told her the child died in an automobile accident, deputies said.  The grandmother, unable to find a death certificate or newspaper clippings of the accident called authorities.  At the time, Megan would have been 13.

Vicki Schober, 44, is now out on parole.  Jesse Schober, 44,  is up for parole in 2016.

Vicki and Jesse are now divorced.

TIMELINE OF MEGAN PRATT DISAPPEARANCE

  • September 1991- Megan was last seen at her family's Brooksville home
  • January 2002- Megan's paternal grandmother calls police into report her missing.  The call came after Vicki and Jesse told her a decade earlier that Megan died in a car accident.
  • January 18, 2002- Megan's paternal grandmother advised police that her son's live in girlfriend disclosed to her that Megan died as the result of child abuse.
  • February 4, 2002- Investigators traveled to South Carolina, where they conducted interviews with Jesse Schober, his then girlfriend and Megan's paternal grandmother.
  • February 5, 2002- Jesse Schober traveled to Hernando County with deputies.
  • February 6, 2002- Schober admitted to investigators he buried Megan in a wooded area in the yard and directed investigators to several possible burial locations.
  • February 7, 2002- Investigators traveled to Wisconsin Rapids, Wisconsin, where the Wisconsin Rapids PD had arrested Vickie Schober on an outstanding Pinellas County warrant for Failure to Appear on Welfare Fraud charges. She was questioned about the Hernando case during that time.
  • August 20, 2003- Vickie and Jesse were arrested and charged with first degree murder.
  • January 2005- Jesse reaches a plea deal with prosecutors.  He pleaded guilty to second degree murder and was sentenced to 25 years in prison.  He is eligible for parole in 2016.
  • 2006 - Vickie is paroled after pleading no contest to aggravated child abuse and testifying against Jesse. 
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