SAN ANTONIO -- Garden Ridge police confirmed at 3:45 p.m. Thursday that a body found in Garden Ridge earlier in the afternoon was that of Leanne Bearden, the woman who had been missing for more than three weeks.
Investigators said a man discovered the body at 12:18 p.m. in a wooded area behind his home. Sources tell Eyewitness News that Bearden was found hanging in a tree. Her body is currently in the possession of Central Texas Autopsy in Lockhart, Texas.
An autopsy is scheduled for Friday, sources say.
Police were able to confirm it was Bearden by her backpack and ID. Investigators would not say whether they were looking for a suspect in Bearden's death.
The body was found in the 21600 block of Fairview Circle, just a few blocks from Bearden's in-laws' home, where she was last seen before going for a run, family members said.
Homeowners in the area were asked by reverse 911 to search their properties shortly after Bearden disappeared, according to Greg Pyles with Texas Search and Rescue. Homeowners were also told that the are was searched several times by the family and that's why is wasn't included in the search eight days after her disapearance.
"When you do come in eight days after an occurance, you have to take that and weight how best to deploy your resources," Pyles said. "You only have one day and you have to make sure you are using the best science and mathematical chances of finding that person."
Pyles also said resources came from all over the state, from Dallas to Galveston.
"It was a huge effort and it takes a while to organize it all," Pyle said.
The family released the following statement Thursday evening:
Our family is understandably devastated by the news of the recovery of the remains of our beloved Leanne. We wish to thank the myriad of people who helped us search for Leanne and who supported us during this entire nightmare. We also wish to thank the members of the media who helped us tell our story. We thank the Garden Ridge Police Department and the other many agencies that provided such caring service to us. We especially thank the Heidi Search Center for their wonderful help and support. Although this is not the outcome we had hoped for, we draw comfort and strength from the outpouring of prayers, actions, and good wishes from all, including over 20,000 Facebook friends. We ask your continued prayers and good wishes for our family. Leanne was a lovely and remarkable young woman, and we will all miss her greatly.
The discovery came after a $20,000 reward was offered by Bearden's family Wednesday.
Police and various law-enforcement agencies had conducted numerous searches for Bearden and still had come up empty-handed.
The Bearden family even hired a private investigator, who later said there was a "strong possibility" that Bearden had left on her own accord. Parker had been as far as Laredo and Austin after people reported seeing someone matching Bearden's description there.
Bearden and her husband, Josh, had just spent the past two years traveling around the world. Prior to Thursday's discovery, her family said they thought the "pressure of transitioning" back into normal life had left Bearden stressed.
Early on, Josh Bearden told KENS 5: "Again, at this time there is no evidence that points to any crime being committed, but the lack of any real credible information and lack of contact by Leanne to any of us has us extremely worried and we just want to know that Leanne is OK."