Aurora woman Tyesha Bell's remains found 18 years after disappearance

The remains of an Aurora woman who vanished from her home nearly 18 years ago have been found and her missing person case is now considered a homicide.

Video Transcript

JACK FICHTEL: Good afternoon. I'm Jack Fichtel, the Bureau of Investigative Service commander here at the Aurora Police Department. Thank you all for coming today. This afternoon, we are announcing a new development in a missing persons investigation from 2003.

Our detectives, along with the Kane County Coroner's Office and support from numerous other agencies, have positively identified human remains that were located in December as the remains of 22-year-old Tyesha Bell.

As a result of the autopsy, this case has now been reclassified as a homicide investigation. Tyesha Bell was last seen by her sister inside their shared apartment in the 800 block of North Randall Road on late evening of May 10, 2003.

After she received a telephone call, she left the home but left the television on, candles burning in her bedroom, and her two young children with family members. She had not been heard from or seen since.

Over the past 18 years, investigators have tirelessly followed up on numerous leads and theories to bring some sense of justice to Tyesha's family and her loved ones. In December 2020, human remains were located in Kane County.

The Kane County Major Crimes Task Force and the Kane County Coroner's Office were requested to the scene to process and document the scene. The remains were transported to the Kane County Morgue for additional testing. I will now turn it over to Kane County Coroner Rob Russell to discuss his portion of the investigation.

ROB RUSSELL: Thank you, Jack. Good afternoon, everyone. Hello, my name is Rob Russell. I am the coroner of Kane County. In December, the Kane County Coroner's office was called. December 11, actually, the Kane County Coroner's office was called to respond to a wooded area in the county.

The skeletal remains were observed in a shallow grave in the wooded area. After confirming the remains were human, we worked together with the Kane County Major Crimes Task Force in processing and documenting the scene. A number of bones were found along with clothing and other personal effects.

After the scene was processed, the coroner's office removed the remains and brought them to the Kane County Morgue for additional testing. None of the items found at the location confirmed the identification process. So I consulted with a forensic odontologist, which is a dentist, and a forensic anthropologist, which is a bone specialist, to create a profile of the decedent.

In mid-December, an autopsy was performed by our forensic pathologist who is our doctor with the results pending consultation of the dentist and the bone specialist. Both the forensic dentist and the forensic bone specialists arrived a short time later, and a profile was established.

The results of the profile were consistent with an African-American female, 5 foot 5 to 5 foot 11 inches high, approximately 25 to 40 years of age. After consultation with my forensics team, the manner of death was ruled as a homicide.

With the profile being created and disseminated, Aurora Police Department brought forth a possible ID from their missing persons records. APD had already placed the DNA profile on this individual into the CODIS system so the profile was available.

The CODIS system is a DNA national database maintained by the FBI and that law enforcement agencies can enter profiles into and compare with found unidentified decedents. One of the bones from the scene was sent to the Illinois State Police Crime Lab to create and compare CODIS profiles with this suspected missing person.

In March, the state police crime lab confirmed that the human remains were indeed that of Tyesha Patrice Bell. ATB-- AT-- excuse me-- APD was notified shortly thereafter. The Kane County Coroner's office is working with the Aurora Police Department and the Kane County Major Crimes Task Force and the continuation of this incident. Thank you.

JACK FICHTEL: While we followed up on numerous leads over the past 18 years, our frustration mounts considering that we believe someone knows what happened is yet to come forward. Our detectives continue to work theories in Tyesha case. But we need more information before criminal charges can be authorized. And that's where the public comes in.

We implore anyone who may have information to please come forward. The Aurora Police Department has set up a dedicated tip line for this case. Anyone with tips or information about the case is asked to call 630-256-5517 or by emailing tips@aurora.il.us.

Tips can also be left anonymously for our investigators by calling the Aurora Area Crime Stoppers at 630-892-1000. Thank you.