Authorities have finally determined the identity of human remains found in a remote area of western Pennsylvania in January.
In a statement released Wednesday, U.S. Attorney William J. Ihlenfeld II identified the body as missing West Virginia teen Skylar Neese, who has now been confirmed dead.
Neese, 16, was last seen on a surveillance camera near her family's apartment in Star City, W.Va., on July 7. The teen had come home from work the evening before, bid her parents goodnight and went to bed. However, as surveillance footage showed, Neese climbed out of her window and got into the back of a friend's sedan around 12 a.m. Though the friend later told authorities that she dropped Neese off near the apartment an hour later, the teen did not return home.
Local police partnered with federal authorities to search for the missing girl and even followed one lead to North Carolina, Neese's cousin Rikki Woodall told the Huffington Post in September.
According to local FOX affiliate WDTV, the girl's remains were located in Pennsylvania's Wayne Township on Jan. 16. The Federal Bureau of Investigation, which joined in the search after Neese's parents reported her missing in July 2012, conducted the scientific testing on the recovered body.
While Neese's father David could not discuss specifics of the case, he did make a statement to West Virginia's MetroNews.
"Our whole world is gone. We lived for that girl. We did everything in the world for that girl, and now she’s gone,” Neese told the radio network. "No parent should ever have to bury their children."
Authorities have not revealed how Neese died or whether foul play was a factor, but the FBI plans to run further tests on her remains to determine the cause of the death.