A six-month search for a missing Missouri woman ended on Friday, when authorities said they'd found the remains of 41-year-old Melissa Doyle.
Family members broke the news to Doyle's 10-year-old daughter, Madison.
"We had to tell Madison after we found out and she just cried and cried," Doyle's niece, Erika McKenzie, told The Huffington Post. "It was heartbreaking and she's not at school today."
Just weeks earlier, Madison had made a televised plea for answers in her mom's disappearance.
"It's been tough because my mom missed my 10th birthday, and that's double digits," she told ABC's Kansas City affiliate, KMBC-TV. "And, being 10 now, I'm getting better at taking care of myself, but my mom is important. She's my favorite person."
The girl also said she was sad because she could no longer remember the sound of her mother's voice.
"Lots of people do forget, and I personally, I have forgotten how she sounds," Madison told KMBC-TV. "I can't remember that ... I hope that someday she'll be sitting right here next to me again."
According to McKenzie, Doyle's body was found Dec. 6, less than a mile from Anita B. Gorman Park, a 45-acre recreation area on Vivion Road in Kansas City. The park was also about a mile from Doyle's home.
It took authorities until Friday to positively identify her remains.
"A couple walking their dog found her," McKenzie said.
Authorities have not determined the cause of Doyle's death, and have yet to say whether they suspect foul play. The medical examiner told the family it could take up to three months to complete the investigation.
A spokesperson for the Kansas City Police Department did not immediately return a call for comment from HuffPost.
Doyle disappeared on May 18 after telling family members she was going to get gas for her car. She never returned home, and her vehicle was found abandoned at Anita B. Gorman Park eight days later.
McKenzie said her aunt had been having a difficult time prior to her disappearance and was in the process of divorcing her husband of nearly 20 years.
"It's so sad," McKenzie said. "We hoped that she was still alive and out there somewhere."
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