Human Remains Found Linked to Missing Person

Authorities have identified remains found in the Arizona desert last week as those of Jenika Brianne Feuerstein, a Mesa woman who went missing on January 3, 2009 at the age of 20.

Three sportsman who were on a target shooting expedition near Apache Lake found Feuerstein’s body in a large plastic container that was taped shut and hidden underneath a large bush.

According to friends of the deceased, Feuerstein was in the company of a 48-year-old ex-convict named David L. Hutchinson when she went missing in 2009. The pair was scheduled to meet the friends at one of their residences, but they did not arrive. At approximately 11:10 p.m., Feuerstein texted her roommate to say she would be home by 11:30. She was never heard from again.

The woman’s family became concerned the next day when she did not show up to a remembrance ceremony for her sister, who had passed away from a brain tumor three years before at the age of 12. Feuerstein had a drug history and her family suspected she was again using heroin; she had had an argument with her sister a few days prior to her disappearance about entering a rehabilitation facility.

While her friends found Hutchinson at a campsite three days later, he revealed no information about the missing girl’s whereabouts and claimed he dropped her off at a Walgreen’s near her apartment on the night of January 3. He has never been named a suspect in her disappearance; the campsite near Coon’s Lake where he was staying is about an hour from where the woman’s skeletal remains were found.

No cause of death has been named, but the case is being investigated as a homicide. Feuerstein’s mother believes that Hutchinson, a drifter, was involved in her disappearance, and was frustrated by what she felt was a lack of action by local police. She turned to psychics in an effort to learn what happened to her daughter, but no leads ever materialized.

While Feuerstein’s family, including parents and a surviving sister, are happy to have closure about her death, questions remain. The Mariposa County Sheriff’s Office continues to investigate. Those with information about the woman’s murder should call 602-876-1801.