The remains of a Fullerton College student who disappeared almost 10 years ago might have been located Wednesday in a canyon in the Santa Clarita Valley.
Lynsie Ekelund, who would have been 29 if she were still alive, had gone with two other female students to San Diego on Feb. 17, 2001, with Chris McAmis, now 31. The two other female students were returned safely but Ekelund was never seen again.
McAmis was always regarded as a "person of interest'' in her disappearance, but last week was arrested by Placentia police. Detective Corrine Loomis said McAmis had said "he always knew this day would come'' and was charged with murder.
Placentia police teamed with LAPD Cold Case unit, which helped them form a case against McAmis, who now resides in Fullerton.
Authorities began searching the wooded site after McAmis said he used a tractor to dig a 4-foot grave for the woman at what was then a construction site, coroner's Assistant Chief Ed Winter said.
McAmis told investigators he tried to rape the student and killed her during a struggle at his home, which was then in Whittier, Placentia police Detective Corinne Loomis told City News Service.
"He said that he had murdered her 10 years ago," Placentia police Lt. Dale Carlson said.
Police from Placentia and investigators from the Los Angeles County Department of Coroner began digging and sifting dirt by 8 a.m. Six hours later they began finding skeletal remains as well as pieces of clothing.
The clothing included a tennis shoe, her mother said.
"They can't ID her yet because the fingerprints are gone but the dental records are available," Ekelund's mother Nancy told KCAL-TV.
Assistant Coroner Chief Ed Winter reportedly said, "we will have to do DNA, dental X-rays and any X-rays."
"It will be a while but we will try to get confirmation of as soon as possible to let the family know if in fact it is her," he said.
Nancy Ekelund said that she feared this outcome, but also had expected it.
"There's not a single day that I didn't think of her," she said. "I've got all of her pictures, all of her possessions."
The victim's mother told The Associated Press in 2003 that she had left her daughter's room intact, with posters on the walls and dirty clothes in the hamper. Nancy Ekelund also wrote a cookbook and raised $22,000 to reward anyone with information on the case.
The mother plans a memorial service after her daughter's body is recovered and would like to help other parents in similar situations.
"I just want her memory to stay alive," said Nancy Ekelund. "I can't let this go down as an event that isn't a service to other people."
City News Service contributed to this report.