By Jon Herskovitz
AUSTIN, Texas (Reuters) - A quarter century after her disappearance in southeastern Texas, authorities said on Wednesday they have unearthed what they think are the remains of a 15-year-old girl in a shallow grave about 20 miles from the rural store where she was last seen.
The Wharton County sheriff's office and others are working to confirm that the remains are those of Rosemary Diaz, last seen in 1990 working at Dane's County Store in the small town of Danevang, about 125 miles southeast of Austin, authorities said.
A man identified as a suspect in Diaz's disappearance died a few months ago and her remains were found on property belonging to the suspect's family, Sergeant Scott Grosser of the sheriff's office said at a news conference. The deceased suspect was described as 48 to 50 years old.
"We found the remains 25 years to the day that she went missing," Bill Copeland, the chief deputy for the sheriff's office, said by telephone.
Along with the remains were personal items including a ring that her family gave Diaz, authorities said.
"We have every reason to believe that the remains that have been recovered are those of Rosemary Diaz," Grosser said.
"It was a very emotional experience for the family and for law enforcement," he added.
There was no sign of a robbery at the store at the time of her disappearance, and her belongings and vehicle were found on the premises, according to the Texas Department of Public Safety.
(Reporting by Jon Herskovitz; Editing by Will Dunham)