Investigators identify human bones found in Lakeland woods

Lakeland, Florida -- Investigators have identified human bones that were discovered last year in a wooded area of Lakeland.

The Polk County Sheriff's Office says DNA tests confirm the bones are that of 35-year-old Mary Elizabeth Rhodes of Lakeland. Rhodes was reported missing by her family back in 2012.

PHOTOS:Human bones discovered in Lakeland

Rhodes' remains were discovered in September of 2013 by a man search for scrap metal near the intersection of North Wabash Avenue and Crutchfield Road. The skull and other bones had been left in a large blue plastic container.

Rhodes was last seen around March 27, 2012, when she visited her mother in the hospital. About a month later, Rhodes' sister reported her missing to the Lakeland Police.

The skeletal remains were then found on September 17, 2013. A positive DNA match for Rhodes came back on April 2, 2014.

The Polk County Sheriff's Office is conducting a suspicious death investigation at this time. If anyone has any information about Mary Rhodes' disappearance or her death, they are urged to contact Heartland Crime Stoppers at 1-800-226-TIPS (8477) to be eligible for a cash reward. You can remain anonymous.


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