Friends and family of Jessica Ronhock have had one question on their minds since the 21-year-old college student vanished from Upstate New York in early January: Where is she?
Tragically, it appears they now have an answer. According to authorities, Ronhock's body was found Saturday in an SUV that tumbled off a cliff in Arizona.
The white Jeep Cherokee crashed through a guard rail near a scenic overlook and plummeted 200 yards below. An update from authorities indicated that the apparent accident happened several months ago, as Ronhock's body had already been decomposing for several months when a group of elk hunters stumbled across it this weekend.
Ronhock was last seen at school in Upstate New York, where she was a nursing student at Elmira College. She left a note for her roommate saying she was returning home for a "family emergency." There was no emergency, and Jessica never returned home.
In the days following Jessica's disappearance, credit card records showed her apparently traveling through Florida, Texas and Arizona.
On January 15, security footage showed her alone, withdrawing cash from an ATM in Baytown, Texas.
On January 22, Ronhock's family received Jessica's private journal, which was mailed from Williams, Arizona. According to police, the entries in the journal were "of a disheartening nature." That was the last trace of contact Ronhock's family received from her.
"She had some things going on, but to say that she was suicidal -- most suicidal people won't go to the effort to travel across the country," Sgt. Scott Packard of the Elmira City Police Department told the Huffington Post after her disappearance. Others floated the idea that perhaps Ronhock, after going on a self-discovery trip, met with foul play.
"It's definitely a possibility in this case -- [that] she went out there to clear her head and gather herself and something's happened since then."
Ronhock was one day into her second term of junior year. Her parents posted a message of grief today on her 'Find Jessica Ronhock' Facebook page, stating:
"It is with much grief and heavy hearts that we inform you that Jessica Lynn Ronhock was involved in a fatal car crash on Rt. 17 between Phoenix and Flagstaff Arizona… To our precious daughter, you are a treasure forever in our hearts. All the beauty life can give is summarized in you. Twenty one years seems so short, but we will cherish all of the wonderful memories of our time with you. We are so proud of you and will love you always. Love, Mom & Dad."
Jessica Ronhock with her mother. Source: Facebook
Photo of Jessica Ronhock from Find Jessie Ronhock Facebook page. Source: Facebook
Jessica Ronhock in a photo from Find Jessie Ronhock Facebook page. Source: Facebook
Jessica Ronhock is seen withdrawing money from an ATM in Texas in this handout photo.