Police in west suburban Aurora say a body discovered in Kane County has been identified as a woman who went missing nearly two decades ago, authorities revealed Tuesday.
Police said the "major development" in the missing persons case came after human remains were found in Kane County in December. The remains were later identified through DNA analysis as 22-year-old Tyesha Bell.
Her disappearance has now been classified as a homicide, authorities said.
Bell was last seen by her sister on May 10, 2003 inside their apartment in the 800 block of North Randall Road, according to Aurora police. Bell received a telephone call then left the apartment with the television on, candles still burning in her bedroom and her two young children with family members. She was never seen or heard from since.
"Over the past 18 years, investigators have tirelessly followed up on numerous leads and theories to bring some sense of justice to Tyesha's family and loved ones," Aurora police said in a release. "Still, our frustration mounts, considering that we believe someone knows what happened and has yet to come forward."
Police say after consultation with the forensics team, Bell's death was classified as a homicide. They've set up a tip line for anyone with information about the case and area crime stoppers are offering a $5,000 cash reward.
"Our detectives continue to have working theories in Tyesha's case, but we need more information before criminal charges can be authorized, and that's where the public comes in," Aurora Police Department's Bureau of Investigative Services Commander Jack Fichtel said in a statement. "We implore anyone who may have information to please come forward."
Tips can be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org or called in at (630) 256-5517. Anonymous tips can also be left with the Aurora Area Crime Stoppers at (630) 892-1000.