Officials in South Carolina say a skull found last year behind an elementary school has been identified as a missing mother.
Nicole Goodlett, who was 28 at the time of her disappearance, was reported missing on March 12, 2014 by her parents. She had last been seen on February 20 of that year. The manner and cause of death are listed as undermined.
Nicole family released a statement, saying, "Today our hearts are heavy with the immeasurable sadness this confirmation has caused. Although we are not yet ready to comment on this tragedy, we would like to thank the Berkeley and Spartanburg counties for their continued work to solve this case. This is a step towards closure, but there is more work to be done."
Officials are calling the identification a “major development” in the investigation into Nicole’s disappearance. The skull and a small bone were found by a hunter on November 27, 2015 about 100 yards behind a Berkeley County elementary school.
The remains were sent to the State Law Enforcement Division for DNA testing which later helped identify them as belonging to Nicole.
Nicole was the mother to three young children who now reside with her parents. Investigators say Jerald Howard, her boyfriend at the time and father to her twin daughters, is a “person of interest” in her disappearance.
Howard pleaded no contest to an obstruction of justice charge in connection with the case in 2015, receiving a five-year sentence that was later reduced to a $500 fine and two years of probation.
Authorities added that Nicole’s remains were found roughly a mile away from Howard’s mother’s home.
If you have any information regarding the case, you are urged to contact the Spartanburg County Sheriff’s Office at (864) 503-4500.
Nicole was first featured in Dateline NBC’s ‘Missing in America’ series in June of 2014.