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Year in Review - Remains of woman missing for 7 years found
Her name was Heidi Joanne Ring.
She had been missing seven years when a Glenn County Public Works crew discovered her skeletal remains along the banks of the Sacramento River at Ord Bend Park on July 27.
Before Ring's family and friends were given the grim news, they had never given up hope that she would be found.
In September, before a DNA test would confirm the remains were Ring's, the Community United Effort Center for missing persons, a North Carolina-based volunteer organization, held an "On the Road to Remember" rally in Chico for Ring in the hope that it would generate new information about her case.
Ring, who was 37 when she disappeared, went missing in June 2005, after staying the night at the Motel 6, located in the 600 block of Manzanita Court. in Chico, where she reportedly left her cell phone and possessions.
Her mother Gretchen Ring of Cottonwood and sister Barbara Ring-Dooney, said Ring had always kept in touch, even though she often fell on hard times and was in and out of homelessness.
She had been diagnosed as bipolar and required medication for epilepsy, yet her disability checks and prescriptions were reportedly never picked up, raising a red flag among law enforcement.
In August, nearly two months after her family reported her missing, Ring was reportedly assisted by two Caltrans employees who found her walking along Highway 36 in Tehama County in weather exceeding 100 degrees.
They claimed to have provided her with a ride to Redding, where she said she would catch a bus to Portland, Ore.
When Ring's skull was found on the outer edge of a large burn pile of brush and tree trimmings, Glenn County Sheriff Larry Jones immediately sealed off the area and closed access to the park.
During the next 48 hours, the area was processed and the tedious task of sifting through the earth was commenced to recover as many bones as possible.
Detectives also discovered a large amount of jewelry, including rings and bracelets, some of which were still attached to the bones.
On Oct. 10, the Department of Justice positively identified the remains as those belonging to Ring.
Her family received the news the same day.
"It is a sad detail to inform a parent of the loss of their child," said Jones in a statement. "When that child has been missing for years, knowing parents and relatives are holding out hope their loved one will be located alive, the task is much more difficult. However, there can be some relief and solace in knowing the loved one has been accounted for."
Although no cause of death has been determined in this case and it is unknown how, or when, Ring's remains came to be at the Ord Bend Park, Jones said his office has not stopped working the case.
Detective. Greg Felon continues to work with the Chico police and has even traveled out of the county several times in an effort to solve the mystery, Jones said Monday.
"Like all cases such as this, there is most likely a person or persons who have critical information," Jones said. "We hope they will come forward someday with that information."