EUGENE, Ore. — The body of an Oregon woman who has been missing for more than a month was found over the weekend in a remote and wooded area about 150 miles from where she was last seen, police said Monday.
A search party organized by her family found the remains of Cheryl Hart, 35, of St. Helens, east of Chiloquin in Klamath County, said Eugene police Detective Jed McGuire.
Hart’s boyfriend, Jeremy Milutin, will be charged with her death and is already in custody for auto theft, McGuire said.
Milutin, 36, was named as a person of interest in the case last month.
His court-appointed attorney in the auto theft case, Bradley Cascagnette, didn’t immediately return a call Monday.
Milutin has yet to make his first court appearance in the current case and it was unclear if he had an attorney yet.
“Through this investigation, it’s been very clear that Cheryl was a very kind and loving person and lots of people cared about her,” McGuire said at a news conference.
He described her remains as badly decomposed and said that “it was a very difficult scene for everyone involved.”
A cause of death has not been released. An autopsy was scheduled for Monday in Lane County, where authorities believe Hart was killed.
Hart, a mother of three children ages 10, 16 and 18, was last seen with Milutin on the evening of Aug. 4 at a residence in Eugene.
She had been on a trip to Nevada and California before stopping at a friend’s house.
Surveillance video captured at a Eugene store at 7 a.m. Aug. 5 shows Milutin by himself. Police have declined to say where Milutin was shopping or what he bought.
Milutin was then seen at 11:46 a.m. on the same day alone at a gas station in Klamath Falls, about 150 miles to the southeast.
He returned to Eugene, and was arrested that night for allegedly driving a stolen car.
Klamath Falls is more than 300 miles from Hart’s hometown of St. Helens, which is northwest of Portland along the Columbia River.
Her cousin, Tonya Hopkins, told The Register-Guard in August that the tent the couple used for camping was still in Milutin’s car.
Hart had left her cellphone with her son, but Milutin had her ID when he was arrested.
Hart’s children are being cared for by their grandmother.
The stolen car that Milutin is accused of driving at the time Hart disappeared was taken from a church near St. Helens on July 26.
He’s been charged with unauthorized use of a motor vehicle, attempting to elude a police officer and other crimes.