Human remains found Tuesday at a west Little Rock park have been identified as Ebby Steppach, whose car was discovered there shortly after her disappearance in 2015.
The remains were located inside a drainage pipe after investigators with the Little Rock Police Department’s cold-case unit went to Chalamont Park for a follow-up in the Steppach case.
Police confirmed the identification in a video posted to the department's social media accounts Wednesday evening.
A statement released on the Official: Find Ebby Steppach Facebook page said her family would like to thank "all of you who have supported efforts to find Ebby. It has been through your support, many prayers and God’s strength that they have been able to make this journey. God hears and answers all prayers. Yesterday, God answered the family’s prayers to find Ebby."
A celebration of life will be held at Christ Community Church, 16603 Cantrell Road, on Saturday at 2 p.m., according to the post.
Steppach’s car was found days after she went missing in late October 2015. She was 18 at that time.
On Tuesday morning, the city’s Public Works Department raised the pipe for police at the back of the park, at which point investigators found skeletal remains.
The park had also been canvassed over a three-day span in November 2016, with help from the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children.
Steppach’s mother, Laurie Jernigan, told police that she had last seen her daughter Oct. 24, 2015, two days before she was reported missing.
According to the initial police report, Steppach had talked to her brother before her disappearance. He reportedly refused to say where she was and hung up the phone before turning it off.
Jernigan described an account from her son that referred to Steppach sounding “like she was high on drugs.”
Steppach reportedly called her brother Oct. 25, 2015, sounding panicked, Jernigan previously told an Arkansas Democrat-Gazette reporter.
The teen's 2003 Volkswagen Passat was found five days later at Chalamont Park. Its gas tank was empty and battery was dead, and the keys were still in the ignition, police said.
Steppach’s disappearance drew widespread attention in the years after she went missing. A Facebook group had more than 19,000 followers as of Wednesday, and billboards and flyers were plastered with Steppach’s face.
In December, with the support of a private investigator hired by Steppach’s family, the teen’s story was featured in an episode of Dr. Phil.
Read Thursday's Arkansas Democrat-Gazette for full details.
Information for this article was contributed by Ryan Tarinelli and Ginny Monk of the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette and Jillian Kremer of Arkansas Online.