Sunday, March 6, 2011

Police: Body tentatively ID'd as missing Nev. girl

WEST WENDOVER, Nev. (AP) -- A body found in a shallow grave in the desert near the Utah border has been tentatively identified as that of a teenager who went missing while walking home from her high school last week, police said Sunday.

West Wendover police Sgt. Dave Wiskerchen during a press conference that the body was "tentatively been identified as Micaela Costanzo," The Deseret News reported. Salt Lake's KTVX-TV carried a similar report. Police and the Elko County Sheriff's investigators couldn't be reached for comment late Sunday.

Police Chief Ronn Supp said investigators don't have a suspect or person of interest but they are getting leads.

The 16-year-old girl was last seen leaving West Wendover High School on Thursday evening.

More than 100 volunteers helped search for Costanzo on Saturday. A searcher discovered the freshly dug grave about five miles west of the town, and authorities set up tents and worked at the site on Sunday.

Elko County Sheriff's Cpl. Jim Carpenter said local detectives worked on the excavation with investigators from western Nevada's Washoe County.

Friends said Costanzo was a good student and was well-liked by her classmates.

"She was so sweet, like she would never do anything to anybody," said Laura Botello, a junior at the school. "Then just out of nowhere she disappears just like that in broad daylight. Nobody saw her?"

School officials opened the high school for staff and students to gather on Saturday. Students created makeshift memorials with flowers and candles.

"It's very solemn," said high school counselor Anne Crawford. "There's lots of tears and there's a lot of people very scared or nervous."

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