Brown Co. remains identified as missing Nashville woman

Kate McGrayel
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The father of a Brown County woman missing for three years confirms his daughter's remains were found earlier this month.

Jim McGrayel said authorities told him Thursday remains found near his family's home south of Nashville are those of Kate McGrayel.

The 26-year-old disappeared just before Easter in 2010. Her father says identification of the bones gives him some sense of relief, but that relief is "tempered with 1,000 other things," her father said.

Eyewitness News asked McGrayel if they have been able to determine yet how his daughter died.

"They did not. I can't say that they won't, but that hasn't been discovered yet," he said.

Brown County Coroner Robert Ayres says the search for the cause and manner of Kate McGrayel's death continues, but said she died in the place where she was found. Ayres told the Herald-Times newspaper in Bloomington that foul play is not suspected in McGrayel's death.

That location is within a mile of her mother's home near Nashville, on an area where her father reportedly says she was known to hike. McGrayel said his daughter's remains were found by mushroom hunters just off SR 46, less than a mile from the home.

At first, speculation focused on missing IU student Lauren Spierer, but there are other cases involving missing young women in the area. McGrayel's name, however, was off the media radar until the last few weeks when the remains were found.

Neighbor Tori Norman remembers searching the hills where Kate was later found three years ago when she disappeared. Other neighbors helped in the search, too.

"We were always walking down the road. We would walk into the woods," Norman said. "It was really important for us to pitch in together."

"I feel sorry for them," said another neighbor. "This has got to be very trying for them."

Nashville businessperson Christie Skaarsgard said "this is not something that happens in Nashville, Indiana. So it is important that they know what happened."

Jim McGrayel has said that his daughter seemed to undergo a change in attitude three years ago after returning from a mission trip. She seemed more isolated, he said.

After the remains were found, he speculated his daughter may have hiked to that spot and possibly died of hypothermia after falling asleep.

A Facebook page was created to gather information about her disappearance.