The nine month search for missing New York flight attendant Sierra Shields appears to have ended this week, after the 30-year-old's remains were found.
Officials with the New York Police Department held a briefing Thursday during which they announced bones had washed up on Rikers Island, along with several articles of clothing.
"We believe we've identified that female from the clothing that washed up with the bones," NYPD Chief of Detectives Bob Boyce told reporters. "It appears to be – and we haven't made an ID on it yet – from someone who took their own life and jumped in the water."
Sierra's family told NBC New York that they were then contacted by police and said the remains were those of Sierra. An official cause and manner of death have not been release.
The family released a statement Friday to NBC New York thanking the community for their support.
"We are eternally grateful for the outpouring of love and support for our beautiful sweet Sierra," her family wrote. "We are truly thankful for how God used Sierra's life to reflect the beauty of His Kingdom. Our family is requesting privacy at this time as we cherish the memory of our precious Sierra."
Sierra was last seen on January 14, 2016 at LaGuardia airport, where she worked as a flight attendant for Delta and United airlines. Instead of hopping on a flight she was scheduled to work, Sierra had a brief conversation with her supervisor, handed in her equipment and left on foot.
Chris Shields, Sierra's father, told Dateline several weeks after his daughter disappeared that something seemed wrong when he last spoke with her.
When we spoke with her that morning, she seemed pretty preoccupied -- distracted. Something was on her mind," Chris told Dateline. "Then we got disconnected, which is out of character, as anyone who knows Sierra would tell you: She doesn't hang up on anyone, not even telemarketers."