JEFFERSON COUNTY, ARKANSAS, Ark. — Authorities have confirmed that the skeletal remains found near an ATV on May 5 are those of 39-year-old Maranda Neal, who was first reported missing one year ago.
"DNA testing performed by the Arkansas State Crime Lab has officially confirmed that the remains belong to Maranda Neal," authorities said in a statement.
Following the discovery, authorities shared their condolences to the family of Neal.
"The loss of a loved one is an unimaginable tragedy, and our thoughts and prayers are with her family and friends as they navigate through their grief," authorities said.
Earlier this month, crews planned to execute a multi-day search for Neal, but later called off the search for the Jefferson County woman who was first reported missing May 22nd, 2022.
Authorities called off the search after they found "unconfirmed" human skeletal remains roughly half a mile southeast of President Circle in Jefferson county.
According to authorities, the remains were found in the woods in thick vines and overgrowth. While searching in the area, they mentioned that they also found clothes.
The remains found by a deer hunter and were located southeast of President's Circle, around a half mile from where her ATV was located last November.
The Jefferson County Sheriff's Office spent almost a year trying to find 39-year-old Maranda Neal and learn what happened to her.
"We commenced a series of searches when she was reported missing. [Then] additionally through the summer, and in November, someone located an ATV that matched her description in the area," Major Gary McClain said in early May.
Neal was last seen on an ATV in the Dyson Road and President's Circle area near Watson Chapel.
When they learned someone found the vehicle, they started another search.
The dogs and handlers helped out during May's search, alongside the Quapaw Nation, Jefferson County Sheriff's Office and the Morgan Nick Foundation.
Authorities said that they're still investigating the details behind Neal's disappearance after discovering the remains.