Missing Ill. Mom's Body Found in Woods More than a Year After She Went Missing, Boyfriend Charged
Police said dental records were used to confirm that the remains were those of Jessica Flores
Police in Indiana believe they have recovered the skeletal remains of a 36-year-old mother-of-six, who disappeared from a Chicago suburb more than a year ago.
PEOPLE confirms the body of Jessica Flores was found last week in an Indiana wooded area.
A worker for the city of Gary found Flores’ skull and reported it to authorities. Using a cadaver dog, investigators scoured the same wooded area, recovering even more bones.
Flores vanished on February 25, 2019.
She was last seen in Gary with a friend, who was also reported missing last year before being found alive on March 2, 2019.
Police have not discussed what information — if any — they were able to glean from the friend about Flores’ disappearance.
Police said dental records were used to confirm the identity of the remains.
The Times of Northwest Indiana spoke to Flores’ sister, Mady Perez, who said the family is relieved Jessica was finally found but is now focused on justice.
“We want to thank everyone who came out to help search for my sister Jessica and have kept her in prayers,” Perez said. “We will not stop until we get justice for my sister. Her children and my mother deserve this. My sister is now free.”
Last year, Flores’ boyfriend’s car was found abandoned in Chicago Heights, outside of Chicago, after being set on fire. After the fire was extinguished, police found evidence of a “large amount” of blood in the backseat, along with some of Flores’ personal effects.
PEOPLE confirms the boyfriend, Drew “Tiny” Carter III, has been charged with murder in Flores’ death.
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The 42-year-old Gary man is being held without bond. It was unclear if he has appeared before a judge to plead to the charge against him, and information on whether he has an attorney was unavailable Friday.
Carter was initially arrested more than a year ago in connection with Flores’ disappearance, after a witness came forward, alleging Carter shot Flores with a revolver after she told him he could not have sex with the unnamed witness.
The charges were dismissed without prejudice back in September, when prosecutors learned some of the evidence in the case still hadn’t been analyzed.
Citing police sources, the Times reports investigators believe Flores’ killing is one of six homicides that are all connected in some way.
One victim, according to the paper, was a potential witness in the case, George Heath, who was found dead with a gunshot to the back of his head in his Gary home last month.