Missouri Man Charged After Estranged Wife's Remains Found 10 Months After Her Disappearance

Husband Charged With Murder of Estranged Wife 10 Months After Disappearance
Linda McLaughlin - John McLaughlin
St. Louis County Police Department

04/28/2016 AT 04:45 PM EDT

More than 10 months after the disappearance of a suburban St. Louis woman who was in the midst of a divorce, her body was found in a shallow grave – and her estranged husband has been charged with her murder.

Linda McLaughlin, 57, of Sunset Hills, Missouri, was last seen alive on June 1, 2015 at the family's business, McLaughlin Hoist & Crane in Fenton, Missouri, according to charging documents. She had filed for divorce from her husband of 35 years, John McLaughlin, in December 2014. Three days after her disappearance – June 4, 2015 – she was scheduled to appear in court for settlement talks in their divorce.

On Tuesday, Linda's body was found in a shallow grave by authorities, who declined to comment to PEOPLE about how her body was discovered. On Wednesday, John McLaughlin, 58, was charged with second-degree murder, according to the St. Louis County Prosecutor's office. He is being held on a $2 million bail. He and his brother, Robert McLaughlin, 55, were both arrested Tuesday but no charges have been brought against Robert McLaughlin, Ed Magee, a spokesman for the prosecutor's office, tells PEOPLE.

"The investigation is still ongoing," Magee says. "It's always possible that someone else would be charged or it's also possible the charges could be upgraded."

At the time of her disappearance, Linda and John McLaughlin were embroiled in an ugly divorce, in which she was asking for $2,000 a month in living expenses, reports the South County Times.

She filed an order of protection against John in which she accused him at one point of threatening to electrocute her by rigging a room door, FOX2-TV reports.

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On June 1, after she had dinner with friends, police said Linda was seen with John at the business at about 7:30 p.m., according to court documents. John McLaughlin then allegedly drove to the family farm in Gerald, Missouri, a site where police later found Linda's bracelet and blood, documents state.

John then allegedly drove to a remote area in southwest Missouri; Linda's remains were found ten months later 20 yards from where he allegedly parked his truck, prosecutors say.

Authorities would not reveal her cause of death or say precisely what led them to her body: "Technology led to the location of the body," Magee says.

John McLaughlin faces 10 to 30 years or life in prison if convicted. He pleaded not guilty during a court appearance Thursday.

"We understand he's been the focus of an investigation for almost a year.... It's not unusual to focus on the husband," his attorney, Scott Rosenblum, tells PEOPLE. "We believe the case is extremely defensible."

McLaughlin's two adult sons could not be reached for comment.

With Reporting by JEFF TRUESDELL
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