ANNA, Texas – Plano police have confirmed that human remains found in Anna, Texas are those of Christina Morris, who disappeared in 2014.
Chief Gregory Rushin announced that the medical examiner positively identified the remains late Thursday afternoon during a news conference as Morris' family stood beside him.
The remains were found at about 9:45 a.m. Wednesday by construction workers in Anna, where police and the Collin County Sheriff's Department responded to the scene.
"They notified the Plano Police Department because of our continuing efforts to find Christina Morris," Rushin said at the conference.
Jonni Hare, Morris' mother, thanked police and volunteers who worked to help search for her daughter after the disappearance.
"This, I must say, is the most difficult day that I've ever faced in my entire life," she said. "I know my daughter - I know our daughter - is in a better place. I know she's in heaven. I know she's proud of us for not giving up. I know she's smiling."
Earlier in the morning, Hare arrived at the scene, a wooded area along Taylor Road near the Collin County line, and left flowers.
There has been a massive search for Morris after she disappeared from The Shops at Legacy in Plano in August of 2014. Volunteer search groups have spent countless hours with her family looking for her.
"Well, if she's gone, we want this to be her," a volunteer said. "I don't know how else to put it because [her] family needs closure."
Groups had searched the wooded area before, based on information gathered during the investigation. They said they wished they had been able to find Christina.
"You can have 20 people out there looking and everyone is looking this way and [they] miss something," a volunteer said. "It would be easy to miss something, which we are going to beat ourselves up because we tried hard to find her."
The last images of Morris were taken by a surveillance camera in a parking garage on the night of her disappearance. She was seen walking with Enrique Arochi, an acquaintance she grew up with. The two had been partying with friends that night.
Arochi was later sentenced to life in prison after being found guilty of kidnapping Morris. Her DNA was found in the trunk of his car, proving to be a key piece of evidence during his trial.