FALMOUTH — While the identity of the human remains found Sunday in Falmouth is not likely to be established for several weeks, family members of a missing Richmond woman released a statement Tuesday indicating they believe that Anneliese Heinig has been found.

“The family of Anneliese Heinig would like to express their gratitude to all of those involved in the search for her. Although the outcome is not what we had hoped for, we have, at least, been granted some closure,” the statement reads, as reported Tuesday on Twitter by @roslyn_flaherty.

On Tuesday, Lindsey Chasteen from the Office of Chief Medical Examiner said via email that identification of the remains found in Falmouth is expected to take several weeks.

“The (Office of Chief Medical Examiner) is actively working on several methods of identification in an attempt to bring closure to a family in a timely manner.”

The Heinig family didn’t immediately return a call for comment on Tuesday. But the Facebook page of Anne Heinig, Anneliese Heinig’s mother, was updated this week with a photo of Anneliese, which drew dozens of comments sending love and support and hoping for closure.

On Monday, Falmouth police Chief John Kilbride said officers from his department had been in contact with the Heinig family, but he did not indicate what evidence suggested the remains were Heinig’s. Kilbride did not immediately respond to a request for comment Tuesday. 

Heinig was last seen in Richmond nearly two years ago.

Early in the morning on Nov. 26, 2019, a witness reported seeing someone matching Heinig’s description walking away from a Mercury Mariner parked on the northbound shoulder of Interstate 295 in Falmouth, just north of the Presumpscot River overpass. While traffic was heavy around the time of the probable sighting, no other sightings were reported.

Two days later on Thanksgiving, Heinig was reported missing by her teenage daughter.

In the days that followed, a multi-agency search took place along the Presumpscot River. Falmouth Police Department, along with the Maine State Police, the Maine Marine Patrol, the Maine Warden Service, and the Richmond and Portland police departments, searched the area of I-295 around where Heinig’s vehicle was abandoned. Searchers also looked along Middle Road and the Presumpscot River on foot, by boat and with an aerial drone.

By December 2019, though, Christopher Heinig acknowledged in an interview with the Kennebec Journal that he and his family were coming to terms with the idea that the search for his daughter was probably a recovery.

In August 2020, Falmouth police said at a news conference that with increased summertime boating traffic in and around the area in Casco Bay where Heinig had last been reportedly seen, someone might see something and report it.

The family has kept a low profile since Heinig’s disappearance, appearing publicly in a candlelight vigil in Brunswick that drew about 200 people in early December 2019, a little more than a week after Anneliese Heinig was reported missing.

Earlier this year, Heinig’s mother, Anne, appeared on Dark Downeast, a true crime podcast.

In it, Anne Heinig talked about her daughter’s accomplishments, but she also spoke about post traumatic stress her daughter suffered after two sexual assaults and her struggles.

“I still feel sometimes that I am paralyzed, and it’s taken me a long time to talk to anyone about what happened to her,” Heinig said on the podcast. “It’s been a real struggle. I still struggle thinking that she harmed herself. And I still struggle with wondering if somebody took her. I just need the closure to find out where she is and what happened to her. In these situations, it’s really difficult.”

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