Missing Halifax County woman's family confident human remains found are hers

Human remains found by hunters on Sandy Ridge Rd. last Wednesday

HALIFAX COUNTY, Va. – "We knew that something had happened to her and it just had to be proved and her body had to be found," Wynona Childress, Emma Layne's sister, said.

Childress believes her sister's body has now been found.

Layne has been missing since June 17.

That's when she was last seen at the convenience store where she worked.

"How (could somebody) just take her life and take her out in the woods and bury her and know that we've been searching for her for almost six months," Childress said, fighting back tears. "That person needs to be punished."

On Nov. 22, hunters found human remains in the woods along the 4000 block of Sandy Ridge Road, less than a mile from the property Emma and her husband own.

Halifax County Sheriff's Office Maj. Tommy Spencer said the remains were scattered across the ground and someone appears to have attempted to bury the body.

"It appeared to have been in a very shallow grave," Spencer explained.

He emphasized that, as of Wednesday, there was no hard evidence to indicate the identity of the body.

The remains have been sent to the medical examiner's office in Richmond, but Spencer said getting an ID could take 90 days.

"We've interviewed a lot of individuals in this case and...right now it's a very fluid investigation," Spencer said.

Wynona said their mother was hospitalized two days before Emma went missing and died four months later of a broken heart.

"Her birthday was July the 14 and she had said that if Emma was still alive she would never miss her birthday. Mama gave up after that completely," Childress said, getting choked up.

As of Wednesday, Wynona was no longer counting the days until her sister is found, but instead counting the days until justice is served.