Oklahoma Police Identify Skeletal Remains As Pregnant Mom Who Vanished In 2017

Holly Cantrell was last seen on January 20, 2017 when she left her job to go to lunch.

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Why Are Some Missing Adult Cases So Difficult?

The Director of Communications and Outreach for the National Missing and Unidentified Persons System known as NamUs spoke to Oxygen.com about missing person cases.

The two-year-long search for a pregnant mom of three children in Oklahoma came to a tragic end, as authorities say they've identified skeletal remains as Holly Cantrell.

Pittsburg County Sheriff Chris Morris said Tuesday the remains uncovered in February 2018 on an isolated part of Oklahoma's Cardinal Point Recreation Area were positively identified as Cantrell, a 40-year-old resident of McAlester, local news outlet the McAlester News-Capital reported. Cardinal Point is about 12 miles north of where Cantrell was reportedly last seen alive.

Tommy Cantrell, Holly's brother, posted a message confirming the news to Facebook, according to local television outlet KFOR. 

"I hate to post this on here but this way I can get it out to everyone. It is with a sad and heavy heart to tell this but we have got the report back from Texas. The remains found was Holly’s. Please keep all of us in your prayers as we go through this," he wrote.

Holly Cantrell Fb

A hunter came across Cantrell's purse in February 2018, shortly before the remains were ultimately recovered. The remains were then sent to the National DNA Database for Missing and Unidentified Persons at the University of North Texas for identification, KFOR reported.

When the remains were first uncovered, bones were scattered over an area measuring about 50 yards by 50 yards, according to a previous report from the News-Capital. Among the bones found was a partial skull. Police also recovered a bra and the remnants of what appeared to green clothing, Morris said at the time. Cantrell was wearing green clothing at the time of her disappearance.

Although police say the woman's death is now being investigated as a homicide, Morris seemed to suggest investigators may be starting from scratch in investigating leads in the slaying of Cantrell.

“At this point we don’t have a lot of leads," Morris said Tuesday night, according to the News-Capital. "We’re going to brief detectives tomorrow and work toward making an arrest to bring justice for the family."

Cantrell was reported missing on Jan. 20, 2017 and was last seen in surveillance footage leaving her job at McAlester Regional Health Center around noon for her lunch break. The last reported sighting of Cantrell that day was at 12:20 p.m. at a restaurant about a seven-minute drive from her workplace.

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