MONROE, Mich. – A body found buried along the River Raisin has been identified as that of a 5-year-old girl who went missing last month, investigators said Tuesday.
DNA testing conducted by the Michigan State Police crime lab in Northville confirmed the body was that of Nevaeh Buchanan of Monroe, according to the Monroe County Sheriff's office.
"I want to thank everybody who was with us through the whole ordeal," Nevaeh's uncle, Mike Buchanan, told The Detroit News for an online story published Tuesday. "I hope everyone continues to pray for us. We feel a lot of sadness, but at the same time happy because of the help our family got."
Nevaeh disappeared from her apartment complex May 24. Her body was found last Thursday along the River Raisin in Monroe County's Raisinville Township, about 40 miles south of Detroit.
Monroe County Sheriff Tilman Crutchfield previously had said police had a "reasonable suspicion" that the body was Nevaeh's, saying it appeared to be the same age, size and gender as the missing child.
The body was discovered by a father and son fishing along the banks of the River Raisin. Cement was found on top of the body, which appeared to be buried in a shallow grave, authorities said.
The Wayne County medical examiner's office was conducting an autopsy on Nevaeh's body to determine what caused her death and when. Tissue samples also have been submitted for special testing, which may take weeks to come back.
A task force made up of federal, state and local law enforcement agencies had been working 24 hours a day to find Nevaeh and solicited 1,000 tips. Neighbors, friends and family members also organized search groups to comb the area.
There have been no arrests in the case.
Two people previously identified by police as "persons of interest" in the case were moved to a state prison in Jackson Tuesday, where a parole revocation hearing will be held in the next 45 days, said Michigan Department of Corrections spokesman John Cordell. George Kennedy, 39, and Roy Smith, 48, violated their parole on unrelated charges by associating with Nevaeh, among other violations, Cordell said.