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The remains of a Utah woman, who vanished several weeks ago, have been positively identified.
Stevie Shay Wilkerson’s body was recovered in a “remote area” of western Iron County on Aug. 23, according to a press release sent to Oxygen.com. Investigators said the body “had been in the area for some time.”
Medical examiners positively identified the 26-year-old following an autopsy. A cause of death hasn’t been released.
The Iron County Sheriff’s Office confirmed they’re investigating Wilkerson’s death as a murder.
“It is a tragedy,” Sgt. David Mitchell told Oxygen.com. “My heart goes out to the family. I hope we can bring some justice to them. It is a very senseless tragedy to have such a young life taken so early.”
So far, no arrests have been made in Wilkerson’s slaying, county authorities said. No persons of interest have yet been identified either. However, county authorities promised “positive updates” in the case later this week.
“We’re in the pursuit of justice,” Mitchell said. “We’re doing our damnedest to bring justice to the family and I think we’ll be able to accomplish that very soon,”
Wilkerson was first reported missing from the St. George, Utah area on Aug. 9. She was last seen leaving a hotel in the small southwestern city on Aug. 9, according to St. George police. Her body turned up in a wooded area west of Enterprise, which is around 40 miles north of St. George.
Shortly after Wilkerson vanished, her mother took to social media, claiming she’d been kidnapped by a couple who she “accidentally crossed paths with.” In the post, Vawna Wilkerson alleged a man named “Joey,” and a woman who went by “Jose” were responsible for abducting her daughter.
“Please help me find my beautiful baby girl,” Vawna Wilkerson wrote on Facebook in all capital letters. “They are armed and have threatened to kill her.”
The distraught mother also noted the couple were supposedly driving a 2018 white Chevrolet Colorado pickup truck.
Iron County Sheriff's Office didn't respond to emails requesting comment on Vawna Wilkerson’s allegations.
The 26-year-old Utah woman is remembered as an animal lover who aspired to be a veterinarian, according to her family.
“[Wilkerson had] a big heart, not a mean bone in her body,” her cousin, Angie Golish, told the Deseret News.
Golish described her cousin as “sweet” and “a little shy.”
“My aunt said it feels extra tragic that she would die this way because she was truly a person who wouldn’t hurt anyone or anything,” she added. “She was so kindhearted and loved all animals, big and small."
In her final Facebook post, Wilkerson asked for assistance in securing an apartment to rent with her boyfriend, and her dog, Nico, the Deseret News reported.
Oxygen.com was unable to immediately reach Wilkerson’s family for comment on Tuesday.
Anyone with information related to the case is urged to call the Iron County Sheriff’s Office at 435- 867-7500.
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