The skeletal remains of a young mother from Orlando, Florida were identified thanks to a ring she was wearing.
Tia Bonta, 25, disappeared last August. “She would never just leave like that,” her dad told WKMG, “especially since she has a kid.”
In September, two men found human remains near a road mwhile picking palmetto berries in Bithlo, a rural area not far from Orlando.
The Orange County Sheriff’s Office reported that some “very distinctive” jewelry was found on the skeleton, most notably a silver ring with “MOM” and hearts engraved on its band. The sheriff’s office held a press conference on Friday to present the jewelry to the public, according to the Orlando Sentinel. Police were hoping someone would recognize the ring or other pieces of jewelry, which could help police identify the remains. Dozens of tips flooded in to police.
“The jewelry led us in the direction of who it could possibly be,” Peter Hernandez, a sheriff’s detective said in a news conference on Wednesday, according to PEOPLE.
“The unique jewelry broke the case,” Jane Watrel, a spokesperson for police stated. “It really helped us move this investigation forward.”
This week, forensic identification confirmed that the bones are Bonta. Police are still trying to figure out how she was killed. They suspect foul play.
“This is an active death investigation,” Hernandez said. The exact cause of death is under examination.”
Kevin Bonta, Tia Bonta's father, said he is determined to find out what happened to his daughter.
"Now, my plea to the public is (to) actually find out what happened to her. That's the goal. We need to know what happened," he told WESH-2. "I have spent many a night crying and breaking down.”
Tia Bonta juggled being a single mom and being a student at Kaiser University. Information about Bonta’s death can be reported to Crimeline anonymously at 1-800-423-8477. There is a reward of up to $5,000 for information that leads to an arrest.