NORTH PORT, Fla. – Authorities in Florida said Sunday that they have identified human remains found in a wooded area as that of a 21-year-old woman missing since Thursday.
Denise Amber Lee was reported missing on Thursday after her husband came home to find their two young children alone. The remains were found buried Saturday afternoon.
A distraught Nathan Lee tearfully said life would be difficult without his wife.
"Denise was my soul mate and my best friend, and I will never ever forget about her, and her sons, our sons will always remember who she was. I will miss her so much , and I don’t know how I will go through the rest of my life without her," Nathan Lee said. "But I have so much support and I appreciate it so much."
Authorities later arrested Michael Lee King on kidnapping charges. The 37-year-old is being held without bond at the Sarasota County Jail.
Nearly 300 officers and volunteers had been searching for Lee, the daughter of a Charlotte County sheriff's lieutenant.
Authorities arrested King after Lee made a secret 911 call using his phone. In the recording, Lee is heard saying, "Please let me go," North Port Police Captain Robert Estrada said. Police say they also found blonde hair and a woman's ring in his car, MyFoxTampaBay.com reported.
"We were able to identify the cell phone number," he said, which is what led the police to King, who was apprehended on charges of kidnapping and intent to commit a felony.
King's cousin, Ashley Queen, said King asked an acquaintance to borrow a shovel, a gas can and a flashlight.
"Originally he said he needed a shovel and gas to get the lawn mower unstuck and when he [the acquaintance] went over there, he realized there was no lawn mower and Mike wasn’t there and neither was the girl," Queen said.
Detectives said they recovered a shovel, a long strand of blonde hair and a woman’s ring from King's car.
Neighbor Jennifer Eckert said she saw a strange car drive down her street before parking in the Lees’ driveway on Thursday afternoon.
"I saw him through the blinds, so I came outside and that’s when he looked at me and then pulled into the driveway and just sat there."
She said the car left 10 minutes later.
Police were asking anyone who on Thursday saw King’s 1994 green Camaro with a black front cover to please contact them.
As of Saturday morning, investigators had received more than 50 leads as at least 300 people combed Sarasota, Charlotte and Manatee counties for signs of Lee. Fog was hampering the effort, however, as helicopters sat grounded, North Port Police Chief Terry Lewis said.
Authorities said King was evoking his right to remain silent and was not cooperating with police.
They also said they had no indication whether Lee knew King.
Lee is the mother of 2-year-old and 6-month-old boys and is the daughter of a Charlotte County sheriff's lieutenant.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.