Columbia woman declared unfit for trial in abandonment of a corpse case

COLUMBIA, Mo. - A mid-Missouri woman charged with abandoning a corpse was found unfit to defend herself Thursday.

Deborah Berardi appeared in Boone County Court for allegedly abandoning Steven Summa's body on January 30 in a home on Leeway Drive. 

Berardi was caught by the Missouri State Highway Patrol on January 31 after a warrant was issued.

On Thursday, the court determined Berardi was not mentally fit to stand trial and that she would be committed to the Director of the Department of Mental Health "for so long as the mental unfitness endures or until the charges or proceedings against her are disposed of according to law."

The Department of Mental Health will now work with the Boone County Sheriff's Department to admit Berardi to a mental health facility. Berardi will be evaluated after receiving care to determine if she is able to understand the charge against her.

A public defender has been appointed to review the case impartially and contest it if needed.

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