Adrienne Salinas update: Skeletal remains have similarities to missing teen, police say

APACHE JUNCTION, AZ - UPDATE: Police confirmed Thursday afternoon a body found in a wash in Apache Junction belongs to missing Tempe woman Adrienne Salinas. The Department of Public Safety lab made the confirmation through DNA.

The Tempe Police Department is working with Apache Junction police and the FBI to conduct an extensive search of an area near Highway 88 and Lost Dutchman Boulevard where skeletal remains were found.

According to Tempe police Sgt. Michael Pooley, the skeletal remains were discovered in a wash on Aug. 6 by property owner, Dan Kelly.

A few weeks after storms passed through Apache Junction, Kelly noticed vultures circling his property.

He checked it out with his dog, expecting to find a dead animal. But instead, he found human remains.

On Thursday, Kelly found out from police he may have discovered Adrienne Salinas's body.

"Before it was just a body, and it was sad," Kelly said. "But now that there's a face to it, I don't like it. I really feel for the parents, I mean my daughter's 19. Same age if this is the girl. So it could've been her; it could've been a friend."

No formal identification has been made yet, but according to Tempe police, the skeletal remains have similarities to missing 19-year-old Adrienne Salinas.

Pooley said investigators stopped the search Thursday afternoon for the rest of the day due to the heat and rough terrain. They will return Friday morning.

The body was "severely decomposed" and police were not able to positively identify the remains, he said.

The remains were taken to the Office of the Medical Examiner in Pima County.

A positive identification will not be available for another week, according to Pooley. But the examiner's office said there's nothing making it look like it's not her.

The Salinas family sent out the following statement on Thursday afternoon:

"There are no words to describe the anguish, the heartache and the hopelessness we feel about the unknown because we have no answers.
Adrienne is a young woman with a big heart and bright future. This is so surreal to us. We are united in prayer and not giving up hope. We are leaving it in gods hands, we believe in miracles that this isn't our beloved Adrienne.
We love and miss you dearly. We ask the community to continue to search and pray for her safe return home."

The area where the remains were located has been searched since the discovery, but investigators were back Thursday to search a larger area.

"It's hard to say whether or not this crime happened out here or where it happened. That's still part of the mystery," Pooley said.

A hundred personnel from agencies across the Valley are aiding the search.

Pooley said investigators are searching for any sort of clue, such as clothing or jewelry. Authorities have broken the large area up into different sections to search.

Salinas was last seen June 15, the day she called a local cab company and asked to be picked up to visit her boyfriend in Scottsdale.

She never made it to the cab or to her boyfriend's house.


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