A 16-year-old girl who was reported missing from northern California on Wednesday has been found dead, the Nevada County Sheriff's Office confirmed. Trinity Backus was tragically found dead half a mile from her aunt's house in northern California. Her body was located around 2 pm on Friday night after a widescale search operation was launched.
Additionally, the sheriff's office extended its "deep gratitude" to the several volunteers from organizations across northern California who helped with the search. Backus' cause of death is unknown and the coroner's office will perform an investigation and an autopsy. It is also still unknown how exactly Backus disappeared on Wednesday night.
Disappearance Ends in Tragedy
Backus, a resident of Nevada County, was found in a heavily wooded river drainage to the north of Ashley Bjorklund's home on Kentucky Ravine Road, where she had spent the night. Backus, a star basketball player for Nevada Union High School in the area, had been having a sleepover with a friend at Bjorklund's home when she disappeared.
Police claimed that the youngster left the house in her pajamas at around 10:30 p.m., reportedly to meet her boyfriend, but she never returned. According to the police, she was not wearing shoes when she vanished.
Although the cause of death has not yet been established in the case, authorities claim they have so far found "nothing suspicious." There is currently an investigation going on.
"We have been in communication with the family and extend our deepest condolences to them as they work through this loss," NCSO wrote on Facebook. "We ask that you please respect their privacy."
Backus' body was discovered close to her aunt's 12-acre house, the sheriff's office claimed in a Facebook post.
"Shortly after 2 p.m. today, search and rescue teams located Trinity, unfortunately she was deceased," the post read. "Trinity was located approximately 1/2 mile north of the residence she was last seen at in a very heavily wooded river drainage area."
Death Still a Mystery
Although police do not suspect anything suspicious as of now, Backus' death remains a mystery. "At this point there is nothing suspicious," officers said, following a sprawling search that spanned the past two days.
News of Buckus' death devastated the girl's family and other locals who had been expecting the teenager would find her way back home. 'It's just too horrific,' one resident, Tony Loro, told CBS News.
Backus was reported missing by her aunt on Thursday morning, and a large number of state and local agencies joined the hunt for her. Her mother, Andrea Stanio, told local newspaper KCRA that she last saw her daughter on Wednesday at about three in the afternoon and that she received a call from the girl's aunt at about 10:47 pm in the evening informing her that Trinity had left her house "running."
Stanio, who had traveled for around 20 minutes to Bjorklund's home, said, "That doesn't seem like her." Her daughter wasn't there when she got there.
"I didn't see Trinity on the side of the road," Stanio said, adding that "the last time I saw my daughter was picking up my youngest daughter from school and dropping her (Trinity) off."
She claimed that she had been taking her youngest up to see the first snow on some of the adjacent mountains. "I was taking my youngest daughter up to to the snow. I said, 'I love you Trin,' Those were the last words I said to my daughter."
Stanio claimed Trinity told her aunt she was going to her boyfriend's house in Green Valley, which is about 10 miles away, before she disappeared.
Backus' boyfriend's identity and whether or not he was expecting the teen weren't made public by the family. Going missing was not her daughter's usual habit, according to Stanio.