A woman whose story has been described as the real-life version of Frances McDormand’s character in Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri, has spoken to the BBC about her own experience trying to seek justice for her daughter after she was killed by her husband. McDorman, who issued a crowd-raising call for gender parity after winning the best actress Oscar on Sunday night, had earned accolades for her portrayal of an outraged mother who puts up billboards condemning police over the unsolved rape and murder of her daughter.
Marianne Asher-Chapman, a Missouri mother whose daughter Angela, 28, was killed by her husband, Michael Yarnell, in 2003, told BBC News that McDormand’s portrayal reminded her tragically of herself. Yarnell initially told Asher-Chapman that Angela had run away with another man. About a week after the distraught mother filed a missing person report with the Morgan County Sheriff’s Department and put up billboards and missing signs for her daughter, she received a postcard in the mail that appeared to be from Angie. While she was convinced it was a forgery, she said the department used it as an excuse to effectively drop her daughter’s case. Five years later, Yarnell admitted to writing the postcard himself. Despite attempts to charge Yarnell with Angela’s murder, he pleaded guilty to manslaughter in 2009, and served only four years in prison.
Asher-Chapman says that her daughter’s body has still not been found, but that she remains convinced it lies buried somewhere on Yarnell’s property. Even now, she told the BBC, she’s still searching.
“I like to keep a shovel in my trunk, and I have for all these years, in case I need to dig for Angie,” Asher-Chapman said.
Watch Asher-Chapman’s interview with BBC News below.