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Loggers discover remains of missing Brunswick County woman

Sheriff: 'We spent probably two months daily in the woods'
Posted at 6:09 PM, Aug 13, 2020
and last updated 2020-08-13 23:41:00-04

BRUNSWICK COUNTY, Va. -- The remains of a missing 51-year-old Brunswick County woman were found by loggers Thursday morning about two miles from her home.

Frances Leandra Colbert was last seen and heard from Wednesday, Oct. 16, 2019, when she exchanged text messages with her son, according to investigators.

Her son, Brandon Colbert, said the family is "absolutely heartbroken," but is thankful for the logger who found his mother's remains.

He said the family needs time to grieve as they come to grips with the loss after 10 months of uncertainty.

Brunswick County Sheriff Brian Roberts said the remains were discovered off a logging road deep in the woods about two miles from Colbert's Railroad Street home.

"A guy on a big logging plucker came across the remains," reporter Jon Burkett said. "He saw some shoes and then went down to investigate and saw skeletal remains attached to those shoes."

Officials believe Colbert walked along a creek bed before she made her way into the woods where her remains were located.

Family members had said they feared for Colbert's safety due to a history of heart problems. In fact, officials said Colbert apparently suffered a seizure the morning before her disappearance.

Roberts said crews searched for at least two months in the general vicinity of about a five to eight mile radius from the home.

"We spent probably two months daily in the woods," Roberts said. "We've had the state down... with their cadaver dogs -- obviously initially search and rescue dogs."

Roberts estimated that hundreds of people spent "thousands of hours searching for her initially in this area," which was based on the last location received from her cellphone.

Roberts confirmed the remains are believed to be those of Colbert since the clothing matched a description of what Colbert was last seen wearing.

Investigators conducting a death investigation said they do not suspect foul play.

This is a developing story, so anyone with more information can submit a news tip here.