Nearly a year after Felicia Johnson was reported missing, the California woman’s possibly dismembered remains were found in Texas — and the man suspected of killing her is still on the run.
A worker with the Texas Department of Transportation called police around noon on Feb. 7 after discovering possible human bones in an area of the Sam Houston National Forest near Flamingo Lakes and Highway 149, according to a press release from the Montgomery County Sheriff’s Office.
When deputies responded, it was determined that the remains were, in fact, human, and samples were sent for DNA and dental record analysis, the release states.
“It is with a heavy heart that we report dental records have confirmed that the human remains are that of missing person Felicia Johnson of California,” the sheriff’s office said. “Our hearts go out to the Johnson family and friends and we hope this brings them some closure.”
The 24-year-old woman’s father spoke with ABC 13 after receiving the news.
“The reason why her body has been found is so that she can return to get justice for herself,” Kevin Johnson said, per the outlet. “This is the first piece of the puzzle that is going to allow law enforcement to do their job and bring these guys to justice.”
Police say Johnson was visiting Houston, Texas, from her hometown of San Diego, Calif., last year in search of work, PEOPLE reported in 2022. While in Houston, she applied for a job at a local exotic dancing venue.
Johnson was reported missing on April 16 of last year after her bloodied cell phone and purse were discovered near a community park, according to a press release from the Houston Police Department.
Detectives later identified Chukwuebuka Nwobodo, 28, as a suspect and charged him last June 9 with murder and tampering with evidence in connection with Johnson’s death.He had previously been taken into custody on May 13, but was released without charges.
Authorities say evidence shows that Nwobodo — who remains at large — picked up Johnson from an apartment complex and drove her to his apartment, where he allegedly killed and dismembered her, before disposing of her body and personal items in an attempt to cover up the crime.
According to court documents obtained by Fox 26 Houston, Johnson and Nwobodo first communicated on Snapchat, and Nwobodo agreed to pay her $500 for an in-person meeting.
Following Johnson’s disappearance, the suspect allegedly purchased a saw, trash bags, towels and a flashlight, the outlet reports, Fox 26 reports, citing the charging documents. During a search of Nwodobo’s car, police allegedly discovered latex gloves, a kitchen knife and a shovel, as well as Johnson’s blood in the trunk and backseat, the charging documents allege.
The woman’s DNA was also found in his apartment, the charging documents allege, according to Fox 26.
A search of the suspect’s internet history revealed that he allegedly Googled “how to be a serial killer” and “how does one plan a murder without getting caught,” the documents state, per the outlet.
Johnson was described as a “beautiful young lady” who aspired to work in the hair, makeup and modeling industries, according to a GoFundMe page set up last year for her family’s traveling expenses.
We hope her family gets the justice they deserve.