Over three years after her disappearance, body of missing teen found in 'rural area'

Over three years after her disappearance, body of missing teen found in 'rural area'
By Bianca Hillier with NBC News
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A body found in Wayne County, Illinois on December 26, 2017 has been identified as missing 15-year-old Megan Nichols. Megan had been missing from nearby Fairfield, Illinois since July 3, 2014.

Remains of Megan Nichols, a 15-year-old who went missing in 2014, were positively identified Friday, according to a press release by the FBI.

Megan Nichols

FBI Media Representative Brad Ware told Dateline Megan's body "was found in a rural location in Wayne County, [Illinois] on December 26, 2017." One month later, on January 26, 2018, authorities positively identified the remains as belonging to Megan.

Megan was last seen on July 3, 2014 at the home in Fairfield, Illinois, where she lived with her mother and stepfather. As Dateline has previously reported, Megan's mother, Kathy Jo Hutchcraft, discovered her daughter missing from her room around 11:00 p.m. Kathy later found a note Megan reportedly left behind, telling her that she loved her, but she would never be happy at home.

According to authorities, Megan withdrew money from a local bank while on her bicycle prior to her disappearance. She had left her cell phone behind at the house. It had been wiped clean.

A year after her daughter disappeared, Megan's mom Kathy spoke to NBC affiliate 14 News.

"It's really hard to put it into words," Kathy said of not having her daughter home. "I dream about her and then I have to wake up to this. This is hell."

Authorities first considered Megan a runaway, but her family didn't agree. And while Megan's body has been found, the questions of what happened to her are still unanswered.

"If anyone wants to still submit tips, they can," Ware told Dateline. "It's an ongoing investigation, [and] details will not be released at this time."

If you have any information regarding the circumstances surrounding Megan's death, please contact the FBI at 217-522-9675.

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