CLERMONT COUNTY, Ohio – The remains of a Kentucky teenager who was reported missing in 2010 were discovered over the weekend in Ohio, according to officials.
The Covington Police Department said in a news release on Wednesday that the remains of 17-year-old Paige Johnson were discovered in Clermont County, Ohio, Fox 19 reported.
“Obviously, this was not the outcome any of us wanted,” Covington Police Chief Robert Nader told reporters.
Nader said the remains were found Sunday near Williamsburg Township.
A woman called 911 and reported that her husband was out deer hunting and found a burned human skull, according to a recording of the call obtained by FOX19.
“At this point, there is no cause of death,” Nader told reporters.
Johnson, the mother of a then-2-year-old daughter, was last seen on Sept. 23. 2010, when her friend Jacob Bumpass said he dropped her off at the intersection of 15th and Scott streets in Covington, Ky.
Her remains were discovered about 33 miles east of where she was last reported, according to Fox.
“Paige Johnson is coming home. It’s monumental,” Kenton County Commonwealth Attorney Rob Sanders told FOX19. “We’re just so glad her family will have some closure.”
Paige is coming home. ?
— Rob Sanders (@KYprosecutor) March 25, 2020
Sanders said the investigation has been frustrating since the beginning, reported The Cincinnati Enquirer.
“There are people out there that have more information and knowledge about what happened to Paige,” Sanders said Wednesday. “There’s probably at least a couple people out there that should be really nervous right now. And I’m glad because those are the people who could have brought some compassion and answers to Paige’s family a long, long time ago and they chose not to do that.”
He said potential witnesses have refused to cooperate, lied, told half stories and made false claims.
Sanders said one false lead took investigators to Knox County where they “dug a hole the size of an Olympic-sized swimming pool” searching for remains.
Family members said they were notified Tuesday that her remains were discovered.
“I am, like, shaking,” Brittany Haywood, Paige’s sister, told The Enquirer on Wednesday. “My mom just woke me up with this right now.”
In the years since Johnson was reported missing, local officials said they have been determined to recover her and bring a resolution to her family.
“The trail goes hot and cold, but we are always on the case. We’ll never give up till her family has closure and justice is served,” Sanders told FOX19 last year.
Authorities planned to review the case this year to examine new leads and look into new technology to test evidence.
“It’s an emotional case for us,” Sanders told FOX19 on Wednesday morning.
After the 17-year-old was reported missing, police questioned Bumpass, who claimed he dropped her off in Covington. But investigators later found that phone records at the time placed Bumpass near Johnson’s home in Florence, about 11 miles south of Covington, according to The Enquirer.
Bumpass was never identified as a suspect or arrested for anything related to Johnson’s disappearance.
The Covington Police Department said that in conjunction with the Clermont County Sheriff’s Office, it is continuing its investigation.
Anyone with information about Johnson’s disappearance is asked to contact Greater Cincinnati Crime Stoppers at 513-352-3040.