Remains of girl, 16, excavated from Florida mobile home park identified as Autumn McClure, missing since 2004

 The 16-year-old was allegedly killed by a 31-year-old man she was living with

Remains uncovered at a mobile home park in Ormond Beach, Florida, late last month have been positively identified as a 16-year-old girl who went missing in 2004, authorities confirmed.

"This week, VSO Crime Scene Unit personnel and an ANDE Rapid DNA scientist developed a profile from DNA extracted from the bones recovered at the Ormond Beach burial site," the Volusia County Sheriff’s Office said in an update Thursday. The DNA was compared to the family of Autumn McClure. 

"Rather than sending DNA to a state lab for analysis, the use of VSO's in-house ANDE Rapid DNA technology significantly reduced the time it took to make an official identification for the family," the sheriff’s office said. 

McClure, 16, was reported missing by her grandmother in May 2004, after her boyfriend said he dropped her off at a mall. Her boyfriend later said he actually left her at a bridge where she got into a car with a woman named Jessica Freeman. 


A split of Autumn McClure smiling and the excavation of her remains

Autumn McClure's remains have been positively identified 20 years after she went missing.  (Volusia County Sheriff's Office)

Investigators learned that McClure was staying with Freeman, whom she worked with at a Winn-Dixie supermarket, as well as Freeman’s boyfriend, Brian Donley, who was 31 at the time, and the three were involved in a romantic relationship. 

They lived in the Shady Oaks mobile home park, and told investigators McClure stayed with them only for a short time, claiming they had no knowledge of her whereabouts. 

In 2021, the sheriff’s office received a tip claiming Donley or his girlfriend were responsible for the death of a teenage girl in Volusia County. Investigators followed up with the tipster and were provided with additional evidence.

Donley died during a medical operation in 2022 and afterward, Freeman was given a letter of immunity, and she confessed that she saw Donley killing McClure. 


Volusia county Sheriffs car

The Volusia County Sheriff's Office in Florida identified recently found human remains as 16-year-old Autumn McClure. (Universal Images Group via Getty Images)

"She came home one afternoon and saw Brian choking Autumn in the bathroom," Sheriff Mike Chitwood said. "By the time she intervened, she saw that Autumn was lifeless, and she left" the trailer. Freeman told investigators that Donley threatened to kill her if she ever said anything about McClure’s murder. 

Freeman is not a suspect. 

In the 20 years since McClure disappeared, the property the trailer sat on changed hands several times, and a new trailer was placed there in 2021.

The sheriff’s office was able to have the trailer removed, along with the concrete it sat on, to allow for the excavation of the property last week. 

Chitwood added that although Donley won’t face justice in this life, "I’m hoping to God that when he took his last breath on May 26 of 2022, that maybe he had a vision of where the hell he was headed."

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