|Amber Alyssa Tuccaro was last seen August 18, 2010 in Nisku, Alberta. (Handout Photo)
EDMONTON — Human remains in a wooded area south of Edmonton over the weekend has brought a search for a missing woman to an end.
But the search for those responsible for her death still continues, say investigators with Project KARE, a unit responsible for investigating high-risk missing persons.
According to detectives, the remains belong to Amber Alyssa Tuccaro, a woman missing since August 2010.
"This is very sad news for the Tuccaro family, and our thoughts are with them," said Project KARE unit commander Staff Sgt. Gerard MacNeil.
"This discovery brings us closer to finding out what happened to Amber."
A group of horseback riders spotted the remains Saturday afternoon on trails near Range Road 241 northeast of Leduc.
"They were on the trails near here and they looked down and appeared to see human remains. It was in fact a skull. They went to a residence and immediately contacted RCMP in Leduc," said MacNeil.
Forensics teams used dental records to confirm the Tuccaro's identity.
More than 40 people, including civilian search and rescue workers and dog teams, have been scouring the area since Saturday looking for more clues.
MacNeil said more remains have since been found in the area.
Investigators will be searching for the next two days to find anything else that might lead them to suspects involved in Tuccaro's death. During that time, an airspace restriction has also been set up over the area.
Tuccaro was last seen in Nisku, just south of Edmonton, on Aug. 18, 2010. After flying in to the area from Fort McMurray, the 20-year-old got a hotel room in Nisku with a female friend and her then 14-month-old son. She decided to try and catch a ride into the city but never returned.
Police say she was last seen in the southeast area of Leduc County after getting into a vehicle with an unknown man.
The search for clues about her disappearance have been few and far between, but a week ago police released a voice recording they believe took place between Tuccaro and an unknown male just before she went missing.
On the recording, a frightened Tuccaro can be heard asking a man where they are going.
"You better not be taking me anywhere I don't want to go. I want to go to the city, OK?" asked Tuccaro during the two-minute call. The man continues to tell her they are taking gravel back roads that will connect with an east Edmonton street before she asks him to pull over.
The recording, which is now posted on both the KARE and Alberta Missing Persons websites, then becomes muffled.
MacNeil said the release of the audio just a week before the body discovery is simply a coincidence, but the recording has received a lot of attention.
"I would describe it as an exceptional response. The websites that I mentioned received over 8,000 hits in the 20-hour period following the release and from that we've received a substantial number of tips," he said.
He could not say whether any of those tips have led to any concrete leads but said police "remain optimistic."
RCMP are still asking the public to listen to the recording online and contact them if they have any idea who the voice of the unknown man could belong to.