Skeletal remains found in Lorain County, Ohio, belong to a woman who vanished while working as an informant for police in a drug case 18 years ago, according to the Lorain County Sheriff’s Office.
Lorain resident Angela Hall, better known as Angela Serrano, was 25 years old when she went missing on Jan. 9, 1998. She was last seen in Elyria getting into an unknown vehicle, according to WEWS-TV.
Hall, who was a mother of four children, had worked with Lorain city police to convict three drug dealers, who police say had later threatened her life, according to The Chronicle-Telegram in Elyria.
The remains were found on March 22 by a landowner who was checking for damage from a wreck in the area a few days before. Initial anthropological analysis determined the samples to belong to a Caucasian female with a height and age range matching Hall’s profile. They were found to indeed belong to Hall through DNA samples provided by Hall’s family.
However, due to extensive deterioration of the body, a cause of death is unlikely to be determined, Loraine County Coroner Dr. Stephen Evans told the Morning Journal.
“We assume that it’s violent means and we assume that it’s a homicide, but some of this is going to be determined, hopefully, when we catch the person who was involved and they give us the story of what happened,” Evans said. “Somebody was involved and we’re going to have to depend a lot [on] history.”
Police believe that the remains had been there for at least two years, according to WEWS-TV, however they could have been there up to 20 years.
“Everyone is sad,” Hall’s half-sister, Myrna Solis, told the The Chronicle-Telegram. “We kinda expected for her not to be alive after all these years, but when you actually know it, it feels like it just happened yesterday to actually finally know for sure.”
Solis added that it wasn’t unusual for Hall to disappear for long stretches of time, so the family waited a month before reporting her missing, according to The Morning Journal.
Hall had left behind four children, and it was for this reason Solis began to suspect foul play in her disappearance.
“It just never sounded like her,” she said. “Maybe for her to not talk to us, but to never come back for her kids, no way. She loved those kids with everything.”
Hall’s children are now in their twenties. Three of the four reside in Cleveland.
“Their hearts are heavy,” she said of her nieces and nephew. “They had hopes of reuniting with her.”
The investigation is ongoing. Officials have not yet identified a suspect, but anyone with information on Hall’s disappearance and death is asked to call the Sheriff’s Office Detective Bureau at 440-329-3742.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.