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Burned Skull of Teen Mom Missing Since 2010 Turns Up

Prosecutor says 'multiple witnesses ... ought to be pretty nervous' in case of Paige Johnson
By Arden Dier,  Newser Staff
Posted Mar 26, 2020 10:30 AM CDT

(Newser) – The remains of a teenage mother who disappeared in Kentucky nearly a decade ago have been found across the state line in Ohio. Paige Johnson was just 17 when she vanished in Covington on Sept. 23, 2010, after going to a party with friends. Various searches failed to turn up any sign, and by 2015, Brittany Haywood was sure her sister was dead. But "something inside of me tells me that one day we will have answers and peace with all this," she told WLWT at the time. That day is likely fast approaching as a burned skull confirmed as Paige's through dental records was discovered by hunters Sunday in a wooded area some 30 miles east of Covington near Ohio's East Fork State Park, per NBC News. Police say the cellphone of Jacob Bumpass, the last person to see Paige, had pinged off a tower 1.5 miles away, per WLWT.

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Bumpass, who claimed to have dropped Paige off in Covington, hasn't been named as a suspect. But police say he's long refused to cooperate, per People. At a Wednesday press conference, Kenton County Commonwealth Attorney Rob Sanders said "multiple witnesses" who'd lied to police or refused to cooperate "ought to be pretty nervous right about now." For Paige's mother, Wednesday's news—coming shortly after the collection of the skull and other remains over two days—brought a feeling of "overwhelming happiness" mixed with "sadness" and relief. "I was worried I would go to my grave without ever getting this day," she told WLWT. Authorities are still working to determine a cause of death. "We want to be hopeful that this will lead to more information," said Covington Police Chief Robert Nader. "We still have work to do." (Read more murder stories.)

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