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Lynsie Ekelund, Calif. College Coed Missing 9 Years, Believed Found Dead; Mother Shocked

Mother of Missing California Student Lynsie Ekelund Shocked Upon Discovery of Her Daughter's Remains
Remains, clothing found Wednesday in Santa Clarita Canyon are believed to be those of Lynsie Ekelund (AP Photo/Los Angeles Daily News, David Crane)

LOS ANGELES (CBS/AP) The mother of missing California college student Lynsie Ekelund was shocked to learn authorities have likely found the remains of her handicapped daughter who disappeared nearly 10 years ago.

When Nancy Ekelund was called home from work last week, she had hoped the search for Lynsie was over and expected to find her long lost daughter sitting on their front porch.

Instead, Ekelund was greeted by an investigator weeping tears of sadness, not joy.

"There's three miles between work and my condo and I thought the whole time she was going to be there," said Ekelund, who lives in Brea. "I didn't expect what they were going to say to me."

Authorities told the Ekelund that suspect Christopher McAmis had led them to a rugged canyon in Santa Clarita where they unearthed bones believed to be her daughter's remains.

McAmis, who had always maintained his innocence, told police he used a tractor to dig a 4-foot grave for the young woman who had been partially paralyzed by a car accident as a child.

Ekelund has already identified a gold bracelet that was found along with the remains as her daughter's. Still, further DNA testing and X-rays will be used to confirm that the victim was the 20-year-old Fullerton College student, who vanished after going to San Diego with McAmis and two other Fullerton College students on Feb. 17, 2001, investigators said.

At the time, McAmis, who was considered a person of interest, claimed that he had dropped Lynsie off on a corner near her home.

However, in 2008 police reviewed video footage that contradicted his claim that he had driven up a certain street, Detective Corinne Loomis told the Orange County Register.

When confronted with the evidence, McAmis, now a 31-year-old construction worker with a wife and child, told investigators: "I might as well tell you."

Authorities say he confessed to strangling Lynsie in an attempted rape in Whittier, and then buried her 50 miles awayin Bouquet Canyon.

McAmis remains jailed without bail.