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MEMPHIS, Tenn. (WREG) — Human remains found in rural Mississippi have been identified as a Memphis woman who was reported missing in November, the Tallahatchie County coroner confirmed.

Ashley McDonald, 27, disappeared last year after police say she drove from the Hickory Hill area of Memphis to Batesville, Mississippi to meet a man on Thanksgiving.

Tallahatchie County Coroner Ginger Meriwether said remains found Feb. 11 off a gravel road near Scobey, Mississippi have been identified by the Mississippi Forensics Laboratory as McDonald’s. Memphis Police also confirmed the identification Wednesday.

McDonald’s vehicle was found last year between a shed and a trailer in Tallahatchie County. Memphis Police were informed earlier this year, and investigators searched the area around where the car was found.

DNA retrieved from the remains was matched with a family member in Memphis, Meriwether said.

“All agencies worked together to be able to provide closure for a hurting family. I cannot fathom what that family has been through in the past months,” Meriwether said in a statement.

While strong in his faith, Minister Calvin A. Shaw acknowledged he was hurt Wednesday, after getting the news his stepdaughter is dead.

“I raised her. You know, I was dad. To be frank with you, I was dad. But it’s hard, now, it’s so hard. It’s hard to talk about and the thought of it. It’s hard,” Shaw said.

He said the family has been tormented since November, not knowing where Ashley was. The news brought some measure of relief.

“It’s a form of relief, but yet, grief will continue to grieve,” Shaw said. “She was a very wonderful young lady. She was smart in school. She was an A student and she really had a wonderful spirit.”

Ashley’s mother also described her as an energetic, independent young woman, working two jobs.

“Even on the days, the last days that we saw her, she came and gave us a gentle hug and she went on, but that hug was so incredibly different in a warm way,” she said.

Shaw said law enforcement is investigating the case as a homicide, and they want to find out if anybody else was involved.

Now, as his family grieves, he thinks of others too.

“I know it’s hard for not only me, but many other families in the city going through these, whereas, crimes occurring and taking lives of your loved ones,” Shaw said.