It was the answer many had feared but nobody wanted.
Not the law enforcement officials conducting the official investigation, not the friends and community members also searching for the 38-year-old mother of two — and hoping.
"At approximately 10:30 a.m. Monday, the remains of a female fitting the description of Michele Reiter were discovered in a remote area of Coleman County," Brownwood Police Chief Mike Corley wrote in an email to the media Monday afternoon.
"At this time, we believe this to be Michele, but official confirmation will have to be made at autopsy. The Tarrant County Medical Examiner’s office will conduct the autopsy. We do not have a cause or manner of death. It would be premature and inappropriate for us to speculate on either one at this point. … Our thoughts and prayers are with Michele's family."
Brownwood police have made little public comment about their investigation into Reiter's disappearance and declined to comment Monday on what they think might have happened to her.
"We have persons of interest," police Sgt. James Kidd said, refusing to elaborate.
Mike Cox, a spokesman for Texas Parks and Wildlife, said officials had asked for assistance with the search Monday morning and a team of two TPWD officers and three wardens had discovered the remains of a woman's body.
According to Cox, Capt. Malcom Wilkes and Lt. Tracy Davis with game wardens Travis Allen, Dave Besecker and Lee Morrison had helped search on foot and TPWD 4-wheelers.
Reiter, and employee of The Home Depot, was last seen at 6:30 p.m. on Sept. 10, a Monday. She told her roommate, Dennise Worrell, she was going out for a while. When she didn't come home that night, Worrell contacted Home Depot Tuesday morning to see if she had come to work. Reiter hadn't, and her car was found two days later.
"We all love Michele very much," Worrell said in a brief and emotional phone interview. "I know that Michele was a wonderful person and she's going to be so incredibly missed by her family and friends. That she's not coming home again, is something that I can't accept.
"We all hoped … especially the first week, that she would come home safely. … My friend is not coming home. The plans that she made to save up money and move out on her own — not going to happen."
Reiter's friends began notifying the public of her disappearance through Facebook posts and flyers, and friends and co-workers held a candlelight vigil the evening of Sept. 14, a Friday. Assistant Brownwood Police Chief James Fuller confirmed that police were investigating her disappearance and said detectives were working hard on the case. That was the extent of Fuller's comments.
On Monday, Kidd and Police Chief Mike Corley made only general comments about the investigation.
"This investigation is still on going and I will be reluctant to release much information," Corley said. "In fact, I want to release as little information as possible."
Kidd said, "At this time our hearts and prayers go out to the Michele Reiter family and friends. The investigation's continuing. We had concentrated cooperative effort from several law enforcement agencies.
"We'd also like to thank the community. They matched our determination, and their support has been tremendous.
" … We've always been hopeful. This is almost the worst-case scenario. You try to plan for the worst and hope it doesn't happen, but that's what we've had to deal with."
When asked if the efforts of 60 volunteers who searched Sunday had helped in the discovery of the remains, Kidd replied, "It was a factor in that, more eyes on the ground contributed to helping narrow down locations. It always helps when the community gets involved."
Kidd declined to comment on whether last week's arrest in Tom Green County of a Brownwood man named Lanny Bush had any connection to Reiter's disappearance. Texas Rangers arrested Bush, 53, on a charge of online impersonation. Bush remains in the Tom Green County Jail on that charge and on a parole violation warrant.
Facebook posts and comments from individuals who knew Reiter indicated that Bush was Reiter's former boyfriend or fiance.
Worrell said Reiter had moved in with her in her south Brownwood home a few weeks ago. She said Reiter had indicated she was going out on a dinner date the evening of Sept. 10. Worrell declined to say who Reiter's date was with.