Uncle of Elizabeth Salgado, authorities confirm her remains found in Utah County

Elizabeth Salgado. (Photo: KUTV)

(KUTV) — The remains of Elizabeth Salgado, who went missing in April 16, 2015, were found in Utah County, according to her uncle. This information was later confirmed by police.

The 26-year-old woman disappeared on her way home from school, the last time she was known to be seen.

According to Sgt. King of the Provo Police Department, "thousands and thousands of hours" have been spent trying to find Elizabeth Elena Laguna Salgado, who was a recent returned LDS missionary when she vanished. She was from Chiapas, Mexico. When she vanished she was living with roommates and her personal items were still there.

Elizabeth Salgado's uncle Rosemberg Salgado spoke with 2News in a phone interview.

"We got notified yesterday night that my niece was found dead," Rosemberg Salgado said. "We're going through a pretty hard time right now. We just can't believe that this happened to my niece."

According to Rosemberg Salgado, authorities told him the investigation is still ongoing.

"We want justice for Elizabeth," Rosemberg Salgado said. "Whoever did this, we're going to find you."

Elizabeth Salgado's remains were found in "upper" Hobble Creek Canyon, according to Rosemberg Salgado.

Her remains were discovered Friday, May 18, by a man who stopped and walked off the road and discovered a skull and clothing. According to the Utah County Sheriff's Office, the remains were discovered 20 to 30 feet from the road.

The sheriff's office said it spent Friday and Saturday collecting the remains that were turned over to the medical examiner. On Tuesday, the remains were positively identified as Elizabeth Salagado's. Investigators traveled to California to notify her family.

On Thursday, they pleaded for the public's help finding the person responsible for the suspicious death. They declined to give specific details about where the remains were found in the canyon but officials said it was off the road and not at a location where they would not be found walking on a a trail.

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Recalling when he heard the news, Rosemberg Salgado said, "I was just hoping that they were wrong. I said, 'You know, please tell me that is not true.'"

Detectives reportedly told Rosemberg Salgado that there are currently no suspects in Elizabeth Salgado's case.

Authorities held a press conference Thursday morning.

During the press conference, Sgt. S. Cannon of the Utah County Sheriff's Office confirmed the remains found were Elizabeth Salgado's.

Last week, a man traveling up Hobble Creek Canyon stopped at the roadside to urinate and sought privacy. There, he stumbled upon her remains, Cannon said.

Regarding the manner in which her remains were found, Utah County Sheriff Jim Tracy said, "Some days it's just better to be lucky than to be good."

Authorities do not yet know how or why she ended up in Hobble Creek Canyon, south of Provo near the city of Springville.

Provo City Police Chief Rich Ferguson confirmed that Elizabeth Salgado died under "suspicious circumstances." Her death is now being treated as a homicide, though the cause of death is not yet known.

The investigation will now seek to question persons of interest. Officials said an anthropologist and an odontologist were used positively match her identity. At the time of the press conference, most of Salgado's relatives, but not all, had been notified of the death.

The remains were confirmed as belonging to Elizabeth Salgado by the Medical Examiner's Office, who analyzed the remains' teeth and matched them to the woman's records.

"This isn't the outcome any of us wanted," Ferguson said.

"I have extreme faith in our investigators that we will find you," Ferguson said, addressing anyone who might be withholding information on the death of Elizabeth Salgado. "If you know about this crime, if you were not involved in it, come forward now. Waiting will only bring the full force of justice against you."

"I would encourage you to come forward right now," he concluded.

Nomen Global Language Centers, the school at which Elizabeth Salgado was studying, released a statement following the tragic news.

"Nomen Global is saddened to hear about the discovery of the remains of our former student," the statement reads. "We extend our deepest sympathies and condolences to her family, friends and those who are mourning her loss at this time. We pray that this will bring closure and comfort to her family in this period of great difficulty."

2News will continue to update this story as new information becomes available.

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