Remains found in Minnesota were identified as those of a mother missing for more than two months, the Pine County Sheriff's Office said in a statement Monday.
The private investigative group Applied Professional Services said in a written statement Saturday that the remains of the woman, Ashley Carlson, 33, had been discovered.
The sheriff's office said a Christian Aid Ministries search-and-rescue group found the remains on lands belonging to the Mille Lacs Band of Ojibwe people adjacent to the St. Croix State Forest.
The Midwest Medical Examiner's Office in Anoka County confirmed the identity of the remains, but a cause of death was not revealed.
“This is a sad day our family hoped would not come, and there are still many questions that need answers, but the important thing is we now have Ashley,” Carlson’s mother, Krista Struck, said in a written statement from Applied Professional Services.
Carlson’s family hired the investigative group was as part of the search, NBC affiliate KARE of Minneapolis reported.
Carlson’s rental car and belongings were found partly submerged Sept. 24 in Grace Lake in Pine County, the Pine and Burnett county sheriff’s offices said in a joint statement Nov. 12.
Law enforcement officers went to her house, but Carlson was not there and has not been seen or heard from since. Officials said she did not appear to have a cellphone with her when she disappeared.
The sheriff’s offices said this month that several agencies, including the FBI and the Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension, collectively conducted more than 32 search warrants, 15 ground searches and seven drone searches for Carlson. They also searched Grace Lake, where her car was found.