Human remains recently found in western Haralson County are believed to belong to a woman reported missing more than a year ago, authorities said.
A human skull was found Thursday at a property on Mt. Zion Church Road, which was where a tattered backpack and wallet were found weeks earlier, Haralson County Sheriff Eddie Mixon said in a news release Friday.
The backpack and wallet belonged to Jessica Victoria Earl, who was last seen June 8, 2018, leaving a home on Little Circle near Tallapoosa, AJC.com previously reported. Her disappearance led to multiple arrests and a reward being offered for information.
While the skull and other remains found on the property have not been confirmed to be Earl’s, Mixon said he “strongly” believes they’ve finally found her resting place.
“We strongly believe that it will be her due to the fact the remains were found in a close proximity to her backpack,” Mixon said in the release.
Jeffery Seth Odom, 36, was named a person of interest in her disappearance early in the investigation since Earl had been in a dispute with him when she left the home June 8, authorities said.
About a month after she went missing, he was arrested on unrelated charges for failing to appear in court on felony charges and a count of theft by receiving a stolen vehicle.
Odom’s mother, Deanna Ann Smith, 56, of Heflin, Ala., was arrested days later in connection with the case. She was accused of leading investigators on a “goose chase,” the sheriff’s office said at the time.
“This case has been worked constantly for 16 months by my department, we have followed leads, conducted searches and so much more because we wanted to find her for her family,” Mixon’s statement continued, in part. “I ask that everyone keep the family in their prayers in the coming days and while the identification process is completed.”
The remains found at the Mt. Zion Church Road property are being sent to the GBI crime lab.
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