A woman who perished in the middle of the desert may have left a dying message on her cellphone.
Her body was found by a family that was fossil hunting on the West Mesa, a desert area near Albuquerque, New Mexico, on Sunday. Close to the remains were tattered clothes, keys and a cellphone with a video recording, according to NBC News.
Authorities are examining the remains and the personal items to determine if they were those of Brenda Salas, a 27-year-old Bernalillo resident who disappeared in June 2012 following a fight with her boyfriend.
“There’s enough evidence to suggest that she had been lost, and lost for a couple of days,” Sandoval County Sheriff Doug Wood said.
Wood also said in the video the woman talks about her relationship with her boyfriend.
“It’s sad. Very sad,” he said. Investigators said it appears someone tried to call 911 from the phone, but the remote area lacks cellphone coverage.
Salas’ car was found about two weeks after she went missing, roughly 5 miles from the site where the remains were discovered. Salas was last seen at a Walmart in nearby Rio Rancho wearing a gray Winnie the Pooh sweatshirt, blue jeans and Sketcher shoes.
Police say DNA tests and dental records could take as long as two months to verify the identity.
“Until then, we can’t conclusively say it’s her,” Wood said. But investigators do plan to show the woman’s family the cellphone message after they’ve processed the video and other evidence.
If her remains were the ones found Easter Sunday, it will be thanks to a family who took a walk together.
Mike Zeyen, a mechanic from Rio Rancho, his wife, two daughters and the family dog – a German shepherd named Billy Jean – were out on one of their regular rock and fossil explorations in the area, the Daily Mail reported.
“We came across this hill and my wife looks at me and says ‘Hey there are a bunch of bones down here … and a shoe,” Zeyen said. At that point he knew to get his family out of the potential crime scene and call police.
Zeyen said his family hopes the family of the missing person is able to gain closure through their discovery.
“If it gives the family any closure, then that’s the best thing that could happen,” he said.
(H/T: NBC News)
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