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Unidentified teenage girl buried in Arizona 3 years after body found

This Wednesday, Jan. 15, 2020, photo from the Mohave County Sheriff's Office shows the casket of an unidentified girl who was found dead in the Arizona desert in 2016 and has never been identified, during her burial ceremony at Mountain View Cemetery in Kingman, Ariz. From the remains, the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children created an approximate reconstruction of the face of the young girl. (Mohave County Sheriff's Office via AP)

KINGMAN, Ariz. (AP) — The body of a teenager discovered near an Arizona highway three years ago has been buried without the discovery of her identity despite an extensive investigation.

The girl was laid to rest Thursday with the help of a funeral home and cemetery, The Kingman Daily Miner reported.

“It was just the right thing to do,” said James Sutton of the Sutton Memorial Funeral Home in Kingman.

Hikers found the girl’s body in the desert off Highway 93 north of Dolan Springs in September 2016.

The Mohave County Sheriff’s Office and Mohave County Medical Examiner’s Office conducted the investigation seeking the identify of the girl, whose cause of death could not be determined.

The teen, believed to be between 13 and 17 years old, was found in a ravine and had been buried there for one to two weeks, the sheriff’s report said.

The girl was described as an African American or biracial female with black or dark brown hair. She was about 5 feet 6 inches tall (1.7 meters) and weighed between 105 and 130 pounds (48 and 59 kilograms.) She had pierced ears and may have had braces at one time.

A medical examiner’s office social media post in 2018 seeking information about the girl said isotope testing revealed she most likely grew up or spent significant time in the far northeastern region of the U.S. or Canada.

Detectives are still actively seeking information about the girl.

“The examiner’s office was extremely diligent trying numerous means to identify her,” Sutton said. “So with facial recognition, DNA and dental work, it took three years before she could be put to rest.”

Sutton declined to reveal the cost of funeral services. The Sutton family donated the casket and Mountain View Cemetery in Kingman plans to provide a headstone within a few months.

“The price doesn’t matter,” Sutton says. “That is not the point.”

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