The remains of a 37-year-old mother reported missing last year were recently discovered near Joshua Tree National Park.
On Jan. 16, sheriffs were called to investigate possible skeletal remains found in a “remote desert location” at Joshua Tree’s Section 6 conservation area, located about 150 feet from the park’s border, the San Bernardino County Sheriff-Coroner Department said in a statement obtained by PEOPLE.
The responding sheriff sent photographs to the coroner, who confirmed the remains were human.
“Detectives from the Specialized Investigations Division and investigators from the Coroner Division were requested to conduct the investigation,” the statement said. “Due to the remote location, the scene was secured for the night.”
The next day, homicide detectives, coroner investigators and crime scene investigators were flown to the location to retrieve the remains.
This month, the bones were identified as belonging to Yucca Valley resident Tawny Marie Camarillo, also known as Tawny Hill, who has been missing since May 2019.
“It’s been hard, not knowing,” her mother, Cassandra Hill, told the Hi-Desert Star of the questions surrounding Camarillo’s disappearance.
“She was a real hospitable person, always wanting to help,” Hill said of her daughter. “As a kid, she would be the one to say, ‘Would you like something?’ if someone came to visit.”
Detectives do not suspect foul play at this time, according to the Star.
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According to Hill, Camarillo’s passions included cooking, cars and doing hair. She also loved animals, and adopted a rescue pup she named Spunky.
“She loved my fur grandbaby,” Hill told the newspaper. “She loved her little Spunky boy.”
The sheriff’s department said additional examinations will be conducted to determine Camarillo’s cause of death.
The family recently started a GoFundMe page to pay for the cremation of Camarillo, who is reportedly survived by a 19-year-old son.
“Tawny was sadly taken from our family last year in May,” the donation page reads. “Didn’t find her skeletal remains until February of this year. Please donate anything you can to help pay the cremation services. Thank you.”
“I remember meeting Tawny and enjoying good conversation with her,” added a friend who contributed to the fund. “I am sorry about her passing and hope and pray for her family.”