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Body of Amber Tjaden found, family members say

Posted at 4:25 PM, Feb 06, 2021
and last updated 2021-02-07 15:31:59-05

OTOE COUNTY, Neb. (KMTV) - The daughter of former Omaha Mayor Jim Suttle and State Sen. Deb Suttle has been found dead, family members announced on Facebook on Saturday.

Amber Tjaden, 48, had been missing since January 27. On Friday, a car belonging to the Weeping Water woman was found on a remote road in Otoe County. The Otoe County Sheriff’s Office said a body was found near the vehicle.

While authorities not have not released the body's identity, Facebook posts from Tjaden’s brother-in-law and daughter confirmed it to be hers.

“It is with a heavy heart that I share that my mom’s car was found and she was found nearby and has passed on,” her daughter Savannah Suttle wrote on Facebook.

Tjaden's brother-in-law, Mike Lewis, wrote on Facebook that the person who spotted the car did so because of social media coverage of the case.

"Through all of your sharing and posting, we were able to assist the investigation and ultimately bring this to a conclusion, and so I deeply truly thank you all for your assistance," Lewis wrote.

Jim Suttle told 3 News Now earlier Saturday that he believed the body found was going to be his daughter's.

"They have found a car, and they have found a person which we believe is going to turn out to be Amber," he said.

Savannah Suttle remembered Tjaden as a “fantastic mother” who was her “best friend.”

“I will love you forever. You lived for your kids, you were a fantastic mother. You did everything for us,” Suttle wrote on Facebook. “You were my best friend, I talked to you everyday, I told you everything. It will take a long time for me to not reach for the phone at the end of each day to call you and see how you are and tell you about my day. I could rely on you for everything and anything. You gave me advice, wiped my tears, always knew what to say.

"I wanted you to be at my wedding some day, I wanted you to hold your grandkids. I did not know that ‘goodbye’ on the phone the night before was going to be a true goodbye."

Tjaden was an educator at Metro Community College who worked with the Gateway to College program.

“She loved teaching and helping shape the lives of young people, she loved to make a difference,” Savannah Suttle wrote. “She believed in you all, believe in yourselves and carry on her memory and her legacy by staying in school, striving to do your best, and be the wonderful and successful people she knew you could be.”

Savannah Suttle also thanked the agencies who helped with the case, particularly the Cass County Sheriff’s Office, Omaha Police, Nebraska State Patrol and the Otoe County Sheriff’s Office.

Cass County court documents show Amber Tjaden's husband, 38-year-old Matthew Tjaden, was arrested on January 28, 2021, shortly after sheriff's deputies went to the couple's home to check up on Tjaden.

Matthew Tjaden was arrested for flight to avoid arrest, child abuse and resisting arrest, according to the documents. He has since been released from jail and is scheduled to appear again on March 4.

In a Facebook post on Thursday, the Cass County Sheriff's Office said "Matthew Tjaden and his extended family have been cooperating with law enforcement in facilitating searches and gathering of information."

Court documents paint a rocky picture of his relationship with Amber Tjaden. In 2015, she filed domestic abuse protection orders against Matthew. In one document, Amber wrote: "I am in a state of constant fear for the safety of my children and myself."

Authorities haven’t said whether they believe foul play was involved in Amber's death, but they said more information about the case would be released Monday.

This is a developing story. Stay with 3 News Now and for updates.

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