Human remains found in Ormond Beach could be those of teen missing since 2004

Volusia County Sheriff's Office detectives suspect that the human remains found Wednesday could be those of Autumn Lane McClure, who went missing almost 20 years ago at age 16.

Volusia County Sheriff's Office detectives found human remains in an Ormond Beach site on Wednesday, Feb. 28. Courtesy of VCSO's Facebook page
Volusia County Sheriff's Office detectives found human remains in an Ormond Beach site on Wednesday, Feb. 28. Courtesy of VCSO's Facebook page
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The remains of a missing 16-year-old Ormond Beach girl are believed to have been discovered in an Ormond Beach-area mobile home park by Volusia County Sheriff's Office detectives on Wednesday, Feb. 28, almost 20 years from the day she disappeared.

VCSO reports that detectives found human remains at Shady Oaks mobile home park, located at 1320 Hand Avenue, suspected to be those of Autumn Lane McClure, a Mainland High School student who was last seen on May 10, 2004. At the time, it was believed that McClure was last seen when her boyfriend dropped her off at the Volusia Mall, but during a press conference on Thursday, Feb. 29, Volusia County Sheriff Mike Chitwood said that 12 years later, McClure's boyfriend admitted he had lied and told detectives he dropped off McClure at the Seabreeze bridge on the day she went missing. It was there she got into a car with a woman she worked with at a local Winn-Dixie. 

The woman lived in Shady Oaks mobile home park at the time with her boyfriend, Brian Christopher Donley Jr., who is the suspect in McClure's murder. VCSO reports McClure was in a sexual relationship with the couple, who initially told investigators that McClure only stayed with them for a short time. 

Donley died at 49 years old on May 26, 2022, almost 18 years to the day VCSO believes McClure was killed and buried in the mobile home park, Chitwood said.

"The sad part is he'll never face, in this world, for the evil that he perpetrated," Chitwood said. "But sure enough, I'm hoping to God that when he took his last breath on May 26, 2022, that maybe he had a vision of where the hell he was headed."

Autumn Lane McClure was last seen at age 16 on May 10, 2004. Photo courtesy of the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children

In the early days of investigation into McClure's disappearance, VCSO reported, her grandmother received phone calls and letters from McClure stating she was fine and would return home after she turned 18. 

In 2021 — three years after detectives re-interviewed Donley's girlfriend, who denied having any information about McClure disappearance — a tipster came forward and said Donley was responsible for the murder. After Donley's death, and once granted immunity by the State Attorney's Office, Donley's girlfriend told detectives that she came home one afternoon and saw Donley choking McClure in the bathroom because she wished to go home to her grandmother, and that by the time she intervened, McClure was dead. He threatened to kill her if she told anyone.

In 2021, a new trailer was placed on the lot and VCSO arranged to have the trailer and concrete slab removed to excavate for McClure's remains this week. As of Thursday, Feb. 29, VCSO reported 99% of her suspected remains have been recovered, though determining a cause of death will be difficult.

"This was really an extremely intense and resource-heavy operation, but all of the factors came together to help us achieve our successful outcome, which was locating and recovering these remains," said Dr. Lerah Sutton, whose team from the University of Florida Maples Center for Forensic Medicine assisted in the excavation.


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