When Tia Bonta missed her son’s first birthday in late July 2016, her family members suspected the worst.
According to the Daily Mail, deputies went as far to say that the 24-year-old was dead in November 2016.
And now, after one year of wondering, her family finally has closure.
In late September, two men picking berries in Orange County, Florida, stumbled upon human remains. They have since been confirmed as those of Bonta.
Bonta’s father, Kevin, told News 6 that authorities called him to inform him the remains were a match with his daughter’s dental records.
In addition to matching dental records, jewelry belonging to the young mother was found alongside the remains. Police released photos of the jewelry in the hopes that a family member would recognize it and be able to identify the owner. After recognizing the jewelry, hundreds phoned Crimeline to identify Bonta.
News 6 reported that Jane Watrel, public information officer for the Orange County Sheriff’s Office, said:
“…That broke the case. People started to call, send pictures and it really helped us move this investigation forward.”
Kevin Bonta had been agonizing over his daughter’s disappearance for the past year. WESH 2 News spoke to the father who said while he is relieved to have found her, he is still not done searching for answers. He has spent the past 15 months searching for his daughter:
“I have spent many a night crying and breaking down.
Now, my plea to the public is (to) actually find out what happened to her. That’s the goal. We need to know what happened.”
Now that the first part of the mystery is solved, Bonta is seeking justice. As of now, there are no suspects. News 6 reported that Tia Bonta was last seen with a man named James Dellafield at a Days Inn. However, he has since been cleared.
The exact cause of death is unknown, and the investigation is ongoing. Kevin Bonta told WESH 2 News: “I think it’s important if anyone has info, they call Crimeline and leave info for us because it’s not over yet. We want justice now.”
Watch more below.