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Amber Harris, Angel in Heaven

Living in the Omaha area, this story has been headlined since Amber’s disappearance in late November.

OMAHA (AP) — The case of Amber Harris is now a homicide investigation after human remains found last week in a city park were identified as those of the missing 12-year-old girl.

Police Chief Thomas Warren said at a news conference Friday that the remains found May 11 in a shallow grave in Hummel Park were identified through DNA analysis.

A cause and time of death have not been determined, he said. Police have not been able to determine how long the remains were in the park, he said.

“It would be pure speculation for me to suggest when the death actually occurred,” Warren said.

The condition of the remains and preliminary results from an autopsy were determining factors in the decision to classify the death as a homicide, Warren said.

There are no suspects, he said.

Amber was last seen alive getting off a school bus near her home in north Omaha on Nov. 29.

Warren said there were articles of clothing found at the site where the remains were found, and indications were that they belonged to Amber.

I feel for the family. They have been searching for her since her disappearance and have been very persistent. Billboards of Amber’s picture have been up all over Omaha and “America’s Most Wanted” did a piece on the case in the hopes there would be more leads. While no one wanted this case to end discovering Amber’s death, being able to put Amber to rest will hopefully provide some closure for the family. Six months of investigating and not knowing what happened to your child must be a sheer hell.

The Harris family raised a number of concerns about the handling of the case, including the police department’s initial concerns that they may be suspects in the case. I’m certain that more will come out on this in the future. My initial thoughts? I couldn’t see from the outside in that they were treated in an inappropriate way, but I’m only exposed to what the media reports on.

Is Omaha a terrible place? No…much of Omaha reminds me of growing up - I feel relatively safe. But when my eight year old asks me why I won’t let him walk to school alone, thoughts of cases like this loom in my mind.

Little Amber - your pain was likely gone long ago, but now you can rest in peace. For the Harris family - may God’s healing hands rest on your hearts and give you some closure and whatever peace you can find.