Burned Body of Missing Pregnant Wisconsin Woman Found in Field; Friend Allegedly Tortured, Suffocated Her

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Murder charges have been filed after a missing pregnant woman from West Allis was found dead in South Dakota. Tess White's body was found on May 17th after she was reported missing by family on May 14th.

Shanta Pearson, left, and Tiffany Lynn Simmons, right, are seen in booking photos released by the West Allis Police Department.

Shanta Pearson, left, and Tiffany Lynn Simmons, right, are seen in booking photos released by the West Allis Police Department.

Now, two people have been charged in connection with her killing. One was White's friend.

Court records show White's friend confessed to torturing and killing White in a parking lot in West Allis in May.

"That's a hole that just won't be filled," Charlene Madosh, White's aunt said.

Madosh said Tuesday that there are still times when she cannot believe her 25-year-old niece is gone.

"It was an awful thing to accept and there are times I still accept that maybe they made a mistake in the identity," Madosh said.

Farmers found White's body in Grant County, South Dakota. It was discovered in a field, and had been burned.

An autopsy revealed the victim was ten weeks pregnant.

Surveillance video from a bank robbery helped lead police to their suspects in this case.

Tipsters told police that 44-year-old Shanta Pearson can be seen in that video, allegedly robbing a Milwaukee bank on May 6. Five days later, on May 11, Pearson was arrested in Colorado following a traffic stop.

The driver, 35-year-old Tiffany Lynn Simmons was also arrested.

Meanwhile, West Allis police had a tip that White was having problems with a friend named Tiffany. That friend had allegedly used the victim's bank card to withdraw $200.

After Pearson and Simmons were brought back to Wisconsin, police interviewed them and both talked about White. They said White had been "pinching their dope bag," and when they picked up White on May 4th, she and Simmons got into a fight. Pearson said he pulled over and tied White up in the truck. He then went to his apartment, leaving the two women in a parking lot at 81st and National.

Simmons allegedly confessed to police that this is when she tortured White, "putting out cigarettes on her skin and punching her."

Simmons then allegedly suffocated White with plastic bags and strangled her with a rope.

White's aunt told KTLA sister station WITI she's just trying to focus on her niece's life -- not how she died.

"Tess gave that so freely and tenderly that it was something that I had to learn from," Madosh said.

Relatives say they just buried White on Saturday. They told the station this is quite an emotional time, but they're relieved to know charges have been filed.

Pearson faces one count of felony murder as party to a crime, and one count of hiding a corpse as party to a crime.

Simmons faces one count of first degree intentional homicide as party to a crime, one count of hiding a corpse as party to a crime, and one count of kidnapping as party to a crime.