Plano Police Chief Gregory Rushin made the announcement on Thursday, one day after the grim discovery of Christina Morris was made by a construction crew in nearby Anna.
“I know our daughter is in a better place,” Jonni Hare told reporters, according to NBC. “I know she’s in heaven. I know she’s proud of us for not giving up. Please understand that we need to grieve. We need to heal. We need our time.”
Morris, who lived in Fort Worth, had been missing since Aug. 30, 2014. Surveillance video had showed her and pal Enrique Arochi walking into a parking garage at an upscale shopping complex in Plano. Her vehicle was found in the garage.
Police would arrest Arochi, who was later convicted of kidnapping and sentenced to life in prison. Arochi, who will turn 27 next week, is not eligible for parole until 2044.
He was found guilty based partly on DNA evidence, but has maintained his innocence.