Investigators have located several immediate family members of Theresa Rose Greaves, the former Camden County resident who was missing for 32 years until her remains were found two months ago on a Utah hillside.
"I thought, 'oh my God, is this real?'" said her cousin Cathy Greaves Spurgeon, whose father, Joseph Greaves, is Theresa's uncle. "It's still sinking in," Spurgeon, 52, said Thursday from her home in Brooksville, Fla. "I never thought they would find her. Never in a million years."
Greaves graduated from Collingswood High School in 1977 and had been living near Salt Lake City for just two months when she disappeared on August 5. 1983. A man walking a dog along a road in Fruit Heights, Utah on February 5 noticed what turned out to be a human skull lying near a gully; investigators unearthed additional remains nearby later identified as those of Greaves.
Greaves' grandmother and mother are deceased, and in March Utah authorities put out a call for information from the public. Salt Lake City radio personality Scott Fisher, who hosts a nationally syndicated show about geneology, volunteered to help.
Fisher contacted Collingswood Class of 1977 Facebook page administrator Ronald Woods, whose email blast to classmates inspired Oaklyn resident Debbie Veevers to partner with Fisher in locating Greaves family members. Veevers obtained information from real estate records in Woodlynne, where Greaves had lived with her grandmother, that ultimately led Fisher to the relatives in Florida.
In a press release Thursday, the Davis County Sheriff's Office announced that it is working with the family members to help advance the ongoing homicide investigation. The office also thanked "several individuals who assisted in finding [Greaves'] next of kin."
Veevers said she is "ecstatic that the family will have closure." Funds she has raised online to bring Greaves back to South Jersey for interment instead will be used to endow a Collingswood High School scholarship in her name, added Veevers.
"I'm grateful to everybody for what they've done," said Spurgeon, who described her late cousin as a "sweet and very kind and down to earth" person who loved music.
"Hopefully this case will be solved," Spurgeon added, noting that Greaves' remains will not be released to the family until DNA testing is completed. "Then we can put her to rest."