KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- A Northland family is shocked and saddened after learning human remains found in the woods last week belong to their loved one.
Mother Melissa Doyle, 41, had been missing for seven months when police found a body about half a mile from where her car was initially found in Anita B. Gorman Park in Kansas City, Mo.
Police confirmed her identity this past Friday, and detectives are now working with the medical examiner to determine how Doyle died. Meanwhile, her family is struggling to accept their new normal without her.
“Now to know that there’s no possibility to ever see her again, it`s just really heartbreaking for me,” said Erika McCoy, Doyle’s niece, “because she just meant so much to me. She was like a second mom for me. We just had a really close bond.”
It was a close bond that incited panic when their family realized Doyle was missing back in May. That’s when Doyle's then 9-year-old daughter, Madison, begged to be reunited with her mom.
“Mom, I love you and just please come back!” Madison said. “I’m really scared and I want you to come home.”
Hundreds of fliers and social media posts later, their worst fears were confirmed when police found Doyle's body in the woods on Dec. 6, and confirmed it was her on Dec. 11.
“Through the seven months,” McCoy said, “I had a glimmer of hope that she would walk through the door and everything would be okay and we’d see each other again. A lot of people in my family kept a lot more hope, maybe, that she`d definitely be coming back, so a lot of people were in shock.”
No word yet on how she died, but Doyle's family said she suffered from bipolar disorder and hadn't been taking her medication.
“We all have questions,” McCoy said. “Our whole family does, and who knows when we`ll get those answers, you know what I mean? It most likely will be a long process.”
In the meantime, they're determined to celebrate Doyle's life and carry on her memory.
“She was such a free spirit,” McCoy said, “and she just had so much fun and always saw the good in people no matter what, and she’d help you however she could. So I know that she’s having fun up in Heaven right now and flying up high and she’s watching over all of us now.”
Doyle's funeral will be Dec. 29, from 5-7 p.m., at Terrace Park Funeral Home at 801 Northwest 108th Street, Kansas City, Mo. Click here for more information.
For more information on how you can help Doyle’s family pay for funeral expenses, click here.