PHOENIX - The Maricopa County Sheriff's Office has identified the remains found last weekend in the desert near Apache Lake as a missing Mesa woman.
Jenika Brianne Feuerstein was 20 years old when she went missing January 3, 2009.
On Sunday, officials said three men found the human remains in a plastic container while target shooting. The men said the container was taped shut and hidden deep inside a bush.
When the men opened the container, they were shocked to discover the skeletal remains and clothing of what they said appeared to be a young girl.
A family statement was posted to a Facebook group called "Missing Person: Jenika Feuerstein" that said, "Sadly, we are announcing that Jenika Brianne Feuerstein's remains were discovered on Sunday, April 6, 2014, near Apache Lake. We are grateful to the men that discovered her remains and called the authorities. It has been a LONG five years not having any answers. Thank you, to everyone that supported us in searches, and passing out posters and just for encouraging words. We will keep everyone updated as we can."
Jenika was last seen with a man named David L. Hutchinson. They were supposed to meet a friend of Jenika's back at his house but never arrived.
Friends told police Jenika texted them at 10:45 p.m. on Saturday, January 3, 2009 and stated they were at McClintock Drive and Dobson Road and would be right over, but they never showed up.
Forty-eight-year-old Hutchinson was convicted for an armed robbery in 2001.
Police say Hutchinson was found by two of Jenika's friends at a campsite at Coon's Bluff three days after Jenika was last seen.
The human remains found last weekend were found just a little over an hour away from that campsite.
Hutchinson told police he dropped Jenika off at her apartment on the day she went missing.
Hutchinson is not and has never been named a suspect in this case, MCSO says.
MCSO says sheriff's detectives continue to investigate Jenika's death.