BROOKSVILLE, Florida - Deanna Lee Stires was reported missing on New Year's Day; on Saturday, the 18-year-old's body was found nearly 75 miles away from her home.
Deanna lived in Hernando County with her father, but her body was found by hunters in Levy County in a wooded area east of Otter Creek.
Her family said the last time anyone in their family actually talked to her was on Christmas Eve. Deanna Stires attended Hernando High School and was about to start taking community college classes to become a certified nursing assistant.
Family members describe her as happy and outgoing, and say they can't imagine why anyone would want to take her life.
Jodie Watson, Deanna's aunt, said, "She'll be greatly missed, and it's going to be hard to go on without her."
Deanna's uncle, Todd Watson, said, "This is an 18-year-old child, and to die in the way that she died shouldn't happen to anybody. I just pray that justice be served and one day we can have closure. I'm also praying that we'll be able to forgive these people."
The Watsons are hoping someone comes forward with a tip in the case so an arrest is made. Todd Watson said they want to make sure this doesn't happen to another family.
Deanna's family from New York, Tennessee, and Alabama are all heading to town for a memorial service for Deanna that's planned for Saturday. Meanwhile detectives, with the Hernando County Sheriff's Office aren't saying much about the case.
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