The search for Selena Not Afraid ends with 'great sadness.' Missing girl's body found near Montana rest area

Jordan Culver, USA TODAY

The body of a Montana girl missing since New Year's Day has been found, ending a weekslong search that stretched across three states and included FBI agents.

Selena Shelley Faye Not Afraid, 16, was found in an area southwest of the rest area where she was last seen, Big Horn County Sheriff Lawrence C. Big Hair said in an emailed statement on Monday. She was found at about 10:30 a.m. during a "systematic grid search" near the rest stop on Interstate 90 between Billings and Hardin.

"It is with great sadness I announce that we have to report the body of Selena Faye Not Afraid has been found by searchers," Big Hair said. 

“We brought our baby girl home. Now she can Rest In Peace,” Not Afraid’s aunt, Cheryl Horn, wrote in a Facebook post.

Foul play is not suspected, Big Hair said, but an autopsy would be performed to determine the girl’s cause of death.

FBI asks for help: Montana girl Selena Not Afraid, 16, missing since New Year's Day

"We want to thank all the agencies and civilians that helped in searching for Selena, we also are thankful for the many people that donated food and water for the searchers and the family," Big Hair said. 

Big Hair asked for prayers for Not Afraid's family and for "time and space to grieve and come to grips with this terrible loss." 

An FBI Child Abduction Rapid Deployment team joined the search for Not Afraid earlier in the month, the Billings Gazette reported. Agencies from Wyoming and South Dakota were also involved with the search. 

According to the FBI, Not Afraid was last seen outside the interstate rest area on New Year's Day. She had left a disabled car and walked into a field next to the rest area and was not dressed for the weather conditions, the FBI reported in its be-on-the-lookout (BOLO) notice. 

This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Selena Not Afraid: Missing girl's body found near Montana rest area