TOMS RIVER, N.J. – A body believed to be that of a 16-year-old girl missing for two weeks was found Tuesday in a shallow grave in a wooded area, law enforcement officials said.
Three officers, including two working on their day off, made the discovery with the help of search dogs.
"It bothered me," said Department of Corrections Officer Joseph Nicholas, one of the men searching on his day off. "That is why we were there."
Brittney, of Brick Township, was last heard from on July 11 when she called her mother from her father's house, where she lived, and said she wanted a ride to her boyfriend's home.
Jack Fuller (search), 38, a friend of Brittney's father, already had been charged with her murder. Fuller has a history of drug and theft-related arrests and was released from prison in April 2003. He is jailed on $1 million bail.
The prosecutor said the 2-foot-deep grave was about two miles from Gregory's home.
"It was probably a convenient place for him to do what he did," Kelaher said at a news conference. He said he did not know whether the teen was killed there.
Investigators have not said why they believe Fuller was involved in Brittney's disappearance or why they had been searching the marshy wooded area since July 18. Kelaher also would not say whether the body was clothed or whether there were signs of sexual assault or trauma. An autopsy was expected Tuesday night.
Kelaher said a decision whether to seek the death penalty against Fuller had not been made; Fuller's failure to reveal the body's location would count against him, he said.
Brittney's aunt, Susan Wood, made no comment afterward, but stopped to hug and thank the officers who found the remains.