The Los Angeles County coroner's office confirmed Wednesday that remains found in Santa Clarita are that of a woman who went missing outside a Reseda Goodwill store in January.
Skeletal human remains were found March 7 on Golden Valley Road, about one-quarter mile west of Robert C. Lee Parkway, according to the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department. A man discovered the remains while walking his dog.
Coroner's officials identified the remains Wednesday as 26-year-old Maricela Garcia of Tarzana.
Garcia went missing on the evening of Jan. 12 while shopping with her sister at a Goodwill store on Lindley Avenue and Sherman Way in Reseda.
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She stepped outside to smoke a cigarette, but by the time her sister went outside to check on her, she was gone.
Garcia's younger sister Sarah waited by the car for 30 minutes in the rain, but she never appeared.
The young woman's mother, also named Maricela, is heartbroken and devastated that her firstborn child is now dead.
"This is the most horrible nightmare in my life as a single parent, as a single mom. I just found out yesterday that they found the remains of my daughter. It's not even her body," she said.
She told NBC4 she is convinced her daughter is the victim of a crime, saying her daughter was always around family and wouldn't just disappear.
"My daughter was a beautiful girl inside and outside," she said.
Garcia's exact cause of death has yet to be determined.
The investigation is ongoing and anyone with information regarding Garcia's case is asked to call the LAPD at 213-996-1800.
NBC4's Irene Moore contributed to this report.