HALIFAX COUNTY, Va. (WDBJ7) An update to a story we've been following for months: we now know that human remains found in Halifax County in November by hunters have been identified as Emma Compton Layne.
Layne went missing in June. Hunters came across the remains in a wooded area less than a mile from Layne's home.
This story is far from over. Now, the Halifax County Sheriff's Office is investigating this case as a homicide. Layne's sister says she won't rest until justice is served.
"Relief will come when there is an arrest and I want them to take their time and make sure that they can make the charges stick. That there's not going to be any question as to who did it," says Layne's sister, Wynona Childress.
Emma Layne was last seen at the Cody Store in Nathalie: a business she owned.
Law enforcement searched for months, but couldn't find her.
Missing person flyers were made and hung all over the region.
Childress says she knew, when remains were found by hunters in November, that Emma had been found and that she'd been murdered.
"A person may wander off into the woods and die. They don't wander off into the woods in a sleeping bag and bury themselves in a shallow grave," says Childress.
That's not what she wants people to remember, though. WDBJ7's Hannah Story asked her how she wants the community to picture her sister.
"This is the hard part," said Childress with tear-filled eyes. "Anybody that knows her is going to remember her as a bundle of energy. Her favorite bird was a hummingbird."
Childress says Emma was a hummingbird. She was always happy, smiling, and full of energy.
"She could make you see things through a child's eyes even though she was 52 years old. That's how we should stop and look at the world," says Childress.
Childress says a yellow ribbon will continue to fly on her antenna in remembrance of her sister, and all the other missing people in the world.
Layne's sister says she's grateful for all of the support from the community. It's apparent if you just do a Facebook search how much Emma Layne was loved by so many people.
The Medical Examiner's office has not released a cause of death at this time.
In the meantime, anyone with information about what may have happened to Layne is asked to call the sheriff's office.