They were words so many people were waiting so long to hear.
"We believe the search for Erika Dalquist is over," John Bolduc, Brainerd police chief, said at a news conference Sunday.
Skeletal remains were found in Nokay Lake Township on the property of Norman and Arleen Myears, the grandparents of William Myears, a suspect in the Dalquist case.
The remains were positively identified as Dalquist's by the Crow Wing County Coroner's Office Sunday afternoon.
Colleen Dalquist of Pillager wipes a tear during a news conference at the Brainerd Police Department where it was learned that her daughter Erika's body was found east of Brainerd. Her husband Duane is pictured at right. Brainerd Dispatch/Clint Wood
"Eighteen months ago we set out with one goal, to bring Erika home and she's coming home now," said Colleen Dalquist, Erika's mom. "It's a bittersweet day."
Dalquist was found after a search dog became separated from her handler, Denny Adams. While searching the Myears' property for the dog, Adams and a neighbor found the remains in a wooded area. Adams and his dog were part of a family-organized search party that gathered earlier Saturday.
The Bureau of Criminal Apprehension, the Crow Wing County Sheriff's Department and the Brainerd Police Department are processing the crime scene.
No one is currently in custody, but officials believe Dalquist is a victim of murder and William Myears is still considered a suspect in the case.
As for the Dalquist family, they're thankful to start moving on with their lives.
"Now we can begin the next phase of this nightmare we've been living the last 18 months," Colleen Dalquist said.
Erika Dalquist, a 21-year-old Brainerd woman, went missing from a Brainerd bar October 30, 2002.
Brainerd Dispatch ©2013. All Rights Reserved.