LEE — Heartbroken.
That's how Peter Naple described his family after learning that human remains found Thursday in a rural area in Lee likely belong to his sister Meghan Marohn, who went missing a little over five months ago.
"Even though they are going to continue to determine that those are Meghan's remains, we are fairly certain it is her. And we’re heartbroken," Naple said Friday. "She has left a large void. There's a lot of people that are going to miss her tremendously. The world as we know it has changed knowing this news.”
The circumstances surrounding her death are still unclear. Through her spokesman, Andrew McKeever, Berkshire District Attorney Andrea Harrington declined to answer questions about the case and whether foul play was involved.
McKeever said Harrington could not comment due to the ongoing investigation.
Harrington’s last statement on the case came during a news conference in April when she said, "I want to stress this is a search effort. There is no evidence a crime was committed."
The human remains were found Thursday night by a "civilian" in a heavily wooded area off Fox Drive — not far from where Lee police located Marohn's unattended vehicle after she went missing, according to a news release from the DA's office.
"Investigators are still actively canvassing the area, and the evidence collected thus far indicates a high likelihood that the remains are that of Marohn," the release stated.
Marohn, 42, an English teacher at Shaker High School in Latham, N.Y., was reported missing March 29. She was last seen March 27.
Her 2017 black Subaru Impreza was found at the trailhead for Longcope Park off Church Street in South Lee on March 29. A resident who lives down the road said he spotted her car there when an ice storm gripped the county.
Her last cellphone signal was tracked to a residential area, less than a mile from where her car was found.
Authorities combed the woods for clues in the aftermath of her disappearance, but the search went cold for months until Thursday, when the remains were found. The area was still busy with activity on Friday, and police blocked off the area where the remains were found.
A lone Lee police officer stood watch over the entrance to an expansive meadow, as state police vehicles left the scene. The meadow is being used as a command center for the investigation.
The remains found Thursday were transferred to the office of the Chief Medical Examiner, who is working to confirm the identification, the DA's office said.
Reached by phone on Friday, Lee Police Chief Craig DeSantis said he could not provide further information beyond the released shared by the DA’s office.
After Marohn went missing last spring, Naple, started a GoFundMe page and raised $20,000 for the search, including hiring a private investigator.
The page is filled with comments from people who knew Marohn. "I tried to write a tribute to one of the best writers, speakers, and teachers I have," one reads, "but words don't seem to do it justice."
Marohn was a poet who started the Troy Poem Project, according to a website her brother made about her.
Her colleagues at the North Colonie Central School District said Friday that they were "devastated" to learn that the human remains found in Lee might belong to Marohn. She worked as an educator in the district from September 2018 up until a leave of absence that began shortly before her disappearance.
"Meghan was a valued member of our school community and the news of her death impacts us all," district officials said in a statement. The district said that it will offer counseling services for students, teachers, staff and community members who may need it.
Naple told The Eagle that a deep grieving process has begun for the family.
"I'm just at a loss for words," he said. "The last five months have been some of the saddest for me. And it's even sadder today."