SAN DIEGO (KGTV) — Authorities have confirmed that human remains found in the Sam Houston National Forest earlier this month belong to 24-year-old Felicia Johnson, a San Diego woman who went missing in Houston nearly a year ago.
According to Montgomery County Sheriff’s Office, deputies were called to the forest near Flamingo Lakes and Highway 149 on Feb. 7 around noon after reports of possible human bones being discovered.
An employee with the Texas Department of Transportation found the remains and called law enforcement. The family of Johnson was notified about the discovery and the remains were sent in for DNA sampling and dental record analysis.
Less than a month later, MCTX says dental records have confirmed that the remains belong to Johnson.
“Our hearts go out to the Johnson family and friends and we hope this brings them some closure,” the sheriff’s department said in a released statement on Facebook Monday morning.
“It hurts, that this confirmation. Part of me still felt she was alive. But it’s also closure, knowing I will have her body someday—and soon,” said her father, Kevin Johnson.
Loved ones searched for Johnson in Houston, and held prayer vigils in San Diego after her disappearance. Members of the family said they last heard from Johnson on April 15, 2022.
After her disappearance, family members tracked down Johnson’s phone and found it ditched and covered in blood off a roadway near Bear Creek Pioneers Park in Houston.
Houston Police previously said they believe Johnson was murdered and that her suspected killer was still on the run. Police later charged Chukwuebuka Nwobodo with murder and tampering with evidence.
In charging documents, investigators said Nwobodo requested an Uber ride for Johnson on April 16, 2022. Authorities said it was a couple of hours after she posted an advertisement on an escorting website.
The documents show that the Uber driver picked her up at a hotel and dropped her off at an apartment complex where she met up with Nwobodo, who drove her to his residence. Investigators said they believe that’s where Johnson was murdered.
Over the next several days, documents show Nwobodo made several purchases, including a mechanical saw, flashlight, shovel, trash bags, and gloves.
Police made contact with Nwobodo in May 2022 when they seized his phone. Nwobodo was detained, questioned, and released because there wasn’t enough evidence to arrest him at the time.
Through phone records, investigators said they discovered searches from April 20 through May 3 including: “what does bleach do to blood?”, “how to be a serial killer?”, “how to kill without getting caught”, and “can police check phone records of a missing person.”
Further searches of Nwobodo’s home and car turned up evidence of blood and showed “very strong” support that the DNA belonged to Johnson.
Investigators also found a handgun, a large kitchen knife, and a shovel, among other items inside the car.
Johnson’s father called on Houston law enforcement to hold a news conference to shine a spotlight on the case and the fugitive, who has family in Nigeria.
“My fear is he is out of reach, but I believe the reason why her body was found is so she can get return and get justice for herself, and this is the first piece of the puzzle,” said Johnson.