WEST WENDOVER, Nev. — Police say they have called off their search for a missing teenager after the discovery of what appears to be a shallow grave.
Human remains were found about five miles west of West Wendover at about 10:30 a.m., although police did not immediately disclose the exact location.
Saturday morning, 135 volunteer searchers set out, hoping to find 16-year-old Micaela "Mickey" Costanzo. She is said to be a good student, and a popular one.
"When things are bad, she always has something good to say to you. She always makes you feel good about everything," said Heidi Thompson, a junior at West Wendover High School.
"I just hope that we can find this little girl safe," West Wendover resident Sharon Spillman said. "[I] never thought anything like this would happen in Wendover."
Micaela was last seen leaving school Thursday at 5:15 p.m. She never made it a few blocks to the apartment where she lives with her mother.
Saturday morning, a searcher looking on his own a few miles west of town found something in the barren desert area alongside some railroad tracks. West Wendover's chief of police described it as a shallow grave with what appears to be a body. He broke the news to volunteers as he suspended the search.
"If it turns out to be something other than what we think it is, we'll put the word back out and go from there," Police Chief Ron Supp said.
"We have not terminated the search efforts. We have suspended them to allow teams to get in there and take a look at what's been discovered and to make an assessment from there," said West Wendover Police Sgt. David Wiskerchen.
Wiskerchen said police have no way of determining yet whether the body is Micaela's.
School officials quickly sent out an automated phone message to all students and teachers inviting them to the school to grieve and to feel safe.
"It's very solemn," said high school counselor Anne Crawford. "There's lots of tears and there's a lot of people very scared or nervous."
"It's really sad to know it could be her. It's really hard," said Janet Romero, a friend of Micaela's.
School officials plan to keep the high school to students and staff until 10 p.m.
A family spokeswoman says the Miceala's family wants to thank everyone for their support by coming out to search and taking time away from their families.
The family is also waiting for confirmation on the ID of the body. Until more comes form the investigation, the spokeswoman said they ask people keep them in their prayers.
Because of the location of the shallow grave, the Elko County Sheriff's Office has taken over the investigation. West Wendover police say they have no suspects.
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No one ever tells you what your life is going to be like when the day comes and your best friend isn't there anymore. Not just a phone call or text away. But utterly and completely gone. In a way there would be no more conversations about your seceret crushes, or eachothers dreams. Or even of the teachers that drove you insane, or the girls who just coudn't seem to get over their drama.
I still remember the first night i got the text message from a friend saying, "Micaela never made it home after practice" or "She's not answering her phone" and "No one can find her." From the very beginning it was very hard to take in. Micaela had always been such a responsible, mature person.She would find a way somehow to get a hold of someone if something was wrong. From that point , our world was turned upside down.
March third of 2011, that's the day my friend, Micaela Rae Costanzo also known as Mickey was kidnapped and murdered. The day the small town of West Wendover, Nevada was betrayed by kids we all had thought we knew. Two kids that we had grown up with, went to school with, and some would have graduated with. March fifth, two days later came, and along with it the news of Micaela's body being found just five miles from our small town. I still wish that among the people searching for her that i had been there looking for her, instead of being miles away.
There is so much i could tell you about Mickey, so many reasons i could give you of why she made so many people that knew her, love her. She made a whole room light up just by walking into it. Her personality, was always so overwhelming, and she was always so happy and full of spirit. She made peoples moods go from glass being half empty to completely full. There was just no way you couldn't be happy when you were around her. She made it her life mission to make everyone smile, even if it took her all day, she'd get it out of you eventually. Micaela never judged anyone, instead she accepted you for who you were as a person, and gave way too many second chances, even when you knew you didn't deserve them. But that was Micaela, and she loved you no matter what.
I guess you could say she was the whole reason i'm not afraid to be myself. The reason i'm so outgoing, and different, and express myself the way i do without caring what people think of me. She encouraged me to be different, to be me, and not pretend. She herself was the most outgoing person that I knew, wild, but calm. Crazy, and really, really bad at jokes, but no matter how corny they were somehow they still made you laugh. She never failed at trying to make you smile.
I remember the time we lived in the same apartments, my family had lived right above hers for two years. We'd grown so much closer in those days. We'd sit outside on the stairs or in eachother doorway talking for hours about absoutely nothing at all. Yet we never seemed to get bored. We shared the same dreams, and ambitions, both wanting to become published authors, She was so amazing. She'd wanted to be a childrens book author, and wanted to name her first daughter after a book she wrote, which made me want to laugh because it wasnt a normal name. Dot. (haha) But it was her, all the way. It was one of the reasons that made me love her so much. Micaela was not ordinary in the least bit. She was spectacular, and her personality was outragously beautiful.