Sharon West, Missing Texas Teen, Positively Linked To Remains Found In Field
The search for missing Texas teen Sharon West has come to an unfortunate end, according to police.
The Jefferson County Sheriff's Office said Friday that human remains found in October had been positively identified as those of the 14-year-old girl who had been missing for nearly six months. The Jefferson County Medical Examiner's Office used dental records to identify the remains, police said.
West was last seen alive on July 30, 2011. She had been staying with family friends in Fannett, an unincorporated town about an hour northeast of Houston. Her living arrangements there were temporary while her mom searched for a job.
The young woman's boyfriend, Austin Meaux, last saw her at the residence in the 11100 Block of Gaulding Road at about 2:00 a.m. He said she was awake and was still there when the rest of the family went to sleep.
According to Chuck Foreman, a private investigator based out of Austin assisting the family, West sent a text message to a friend at about 5:20 a.m., saying she was at the Seabreeze Youth Club's soccer field off Highway 365, a couple of miles from where she was staying.
Roughly 40 minutes later, West used her cellphone to contact another friend. She again indicated she was at the soccer field. According to police, the area is a popular hangout area for young people. West did not contact any other friends after that and her cellphone died shortly thereafter.
PHOTOS OF SHARON WEST: (Article Continues Below)
What happened to Sharon West after those messages remains a mystery. Both police and volunteers searched the soccer field several times without finding anything of interest.
West's remains were found on Oct. 28, 2011, in a field off Highway 365, not far from the soccer field.
"She was found less than three-quarters of a mile from her last known location," Foreman said. "A rancher found her. Her [remains] were scattered across the property."
Police found pajama boxer shorts and glasses with the remains. West's mother identified them as items belonging to her daughter. It remains unclear if police have located West's missing cellphone.West's mother, Sandra West, told The Huffington Post in September that she was upset that the sheriff's department did not issue an Amber Alert when her daughter was first reported missing.
"They said her case didn't meet the criteria," West said.
The Jefferson County Sheriff's Office did not return a call seeking comment in September. A call today was not returned.
Authorities are awaiting the results of West's autopsy, as well as the results from toxicology tests.
According to Foreman, Sandra West "is having an extremely difficult time with" her daughter's death.
Despite her grief, Sandra West recently posted a message for others on her Facebook page:
"Remember to tell the people you love that you love them. Don't put it off till tomorrow because they may just need to hear it today, Don't take for granted that people you love will be there tomorrow," she wrote.
Anyone with information is asked to contact Beaumont Crime Stoppers at 409-833-TIPS, or the Jefferson County Sheriff's Office at 409-835-8411.