The Phoenix Police Department on Wednesday confirmed that the body found this week near State Route 85 in Buckeye is that of a young woman who vanished a month ago.
Kiera Lanae Bergman, 19, was last seen at home in the area of 51st Avenue and Thunderbird Road on Saturday, Aug. 4.
Her roommate, Destiny Hall-Chand, reported her missing after she didn't come home and never came to work. She said the last text message she received from Bergman said that she was going to meet up with a man she met at a store.
Bergman's body was found the afternoon of Monday, Sept. 3 near SR 85 and Hazen Road, which is about a 45-minute drive from her west Phoenix apartment.
She had been missing for 30 days.
The Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office was initially handling the investigation, but the case has been handed over to the Phoenix Police Department.
Other than identifying the victim as Bergman, police have not released any details, saying only that this “is an active homicide investigation.” At this point, it's not clear how -- or when -- Bergman died. It's also not clear how long her body had been in that desert area near SR 85.
"This is not what we wanted," Bergman's mother, Kiersten Bragg, texted to Arizona's Family reporter Maria Hechanova shortly after police announced that they had identified the body as Bergman.
People in the apartment complex had helped pass around flyers with Bergman’s face, but those same volunteers were deflated when they got the news that Kiera won’t be coming back home.
“I’ve been seeing them all over the place – ya know, the pamphlets and everything on the thing," one man said. "So everybody’s really been putting them everywhere. So it was kind of somber to see them taking it down."
Police have not made any arrests in connection with Bergman's death, nor have they said anything about a suspect.
Bergman’s ex-boyfriend was arrested on unrelated charges of identity theft and forgery about two weeks after she disappeared.
Phoenix police Sgt. Vince Lewis said at the time that a search of 23-year-old Jon Christopher Clark’s car turned up quite a bit of evidence supporting nearly two dozen counts of ID theft. None of that, however, was linked to Bergman or her disappearance.
Clark is still in jail, held on $25,000 secured bond.
A little more than a week after Bergman vanished Bragg told Arizona's Family reporter Briana Whitney that the young woman moved from San Diego to Arizona in March to be with Clark.
Bergman's parents also said that she changed after her move, seeming to have lost her spirit. She and Clark reportedly broke up not long before she disappeared.
[RELATED: 'Vigil of Hope' held for missing 19-year-old]
If you know anything about what happened to Bergman, police would like to talk to you. If you prefer to remain anonymous, you can call Silent Witness at either 480-WITNESS (948-6377) or 1-800-343-TIPS (8477). Spanish speakers may call 480-TESTIGO (837-8446). (Click or tap phone number to call from this story on your mobile device.)
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