COLLIN COUNTY, Texas — Police have identified remains found in Collin County to be of a Dallas woman who was reported missing nearly two years ago.
The Collin County Medical Examiner's Officer notified the Dallas Police Homicide Unit that the remains were of Mercedes Clement, police say. She was identified through a dental records comparison.
Police first found the skeletal remains on Feb. 13 this year near Lavon Lake at Morning Dove Lane and County Route 477 in Princeton.
Clement went missing on Oct. 11, 2020, from the city of Dallas, police say. She was last seen around the Koko Apartment Complex off Harry Hines Boulevard, where she was seen on surveillance video walking through a Dallas apartment complex with a man.
Police are continuing to investigate her disappearance and death. They ask anyone with information regarding the case to call Detective Patty Belew at 214-671-3603 or email her at email@example.com.
Clement's mother, Alicia Gazotti, told WFAA that even after two years her family was not prepared to hear that Clement's body was found.
"You get a little peace that she’s coming home, but your child’s not supposed to go before you," Gazotti said. "You’re not supposed to not have them come through the door…and hug them…and kiss them. I don’t think you get closure. You get peace. Then, you get justice.”
Gazotti said she has received help and support from law enforcement, friends and family who have dedicated time to searching for her daughter. She said, now, they will focus on seeking justice and accountability for "every single person that was involved."
"While we are grieving immensely, at least now we can bring her home," Gazotti wrote. "The investigation remains ongoing and this will hopefully speed up the process of pressing charges on those responsible." She also said she wants to help families who are struggling with getting answers in cases involving their missing children.
“I have learned so much about our rights and what police have to go through just to get a victim home and how they’re overworked and overloaded and how little time they have and what little resources they have," Gazotti said. “When everything is said and done, and she gets her justice, we’re going to do everything we can to help those families. That’s what Mercedes would’ve wanted.”
In an interview with Good Morning America's Michael Strahan, Gazotti described her daughter as "just a gift."
"She was just always saving her money for the homeless people," she described. "Always just had a huge heart of gold. Always."
Gazotti told GMA that Clement called some friends on the night she disappeared, telling one that she was "scared" before the phone disconnected. The next day, Clement's car was towed. Her wallet, keys and purse were still inside.
"We just knew something was wrong," Gazotti told GMA.
No other details about the investigation have been released.