HARALSON COUNTY, Ga. - It was not the ending family and friends of Heather McDonald had hoped.
The Georgia Bureau of Investigation confirmed Thursday afternoon that the body of the 27-year-old had been positively identified after being discovered Sunday in Haralson County.
The news came as a shock to Ashley Aszman, who works at a Harley Davidson dealership on Highway 411 near the hotel, where McDonalds rented car was found in mid-September.
“They found her car there after they found her car they came to our store looking to see if they could see anything on the road because we have cameras that point that way,” said Aszman.
She said, sadly, any video of the day McDonald disappeared had been recorded over.
McDonald’s family and friends had posted fliers all around the area.
They also knocked on many doors in hopes of finding McDonald.
For weeks, they had hoped for positive news but those hopes were tragically dashed with news of the discovery of McDonald’s body in Haralson County.
Investigators are still trying to determine how or why she ended up in Haralson County about fifty miles from where her car was found at the hotel.
Andy Patel, who works at the hotel, said McDonald never registered there and wasn’t a guest. He said police scoured the place searching for any evidence she had been there.
The GBI says it'll take an autopsy to determine cause of death.
Family members had been praying for answers and understandably were too distraught to speak publicly.
In a statement a spokesperson said, “Our world is rocked. We have had nothing but the highest hopes of seeing Heather again since she disappeared over six weeks ago. Our thoughts and efforts are now turned to Stefan, Olivia, Molly and Nova - as well as Lisa, Heather's mom and Madison, Heathers sister. We, the family appreciate every thought and prayer in this horrible time.”
The GBI said the autopsy is expected to reveal the cause of death, which should shed light on whether foul play was involved.
There is a $20,000 reward involved. Anyone with information is asked to contact Cartersville Police.
Ashley Aszma hopes the discovery of McDonald’s body is the beginning of healing for her family.
“They need to get justice served for this family and their friends because it’s not going to be settled for them until they get justice for this person,” said Aszman