CHISAGO COUNTY - The Chisago County Sheriff confirmed that the body found in a swamp on Friday afternoon was Danielle Jelinek, last seen in the area in early December. Jelinek's family and friends were notified by Sheriff Rick Duncan on Friday night.
"I'm sad and broken. This is closure but we wanted her home," Lindsey Sheridan, one of Danielle's best friends, shared with KARE 11.
The body was found in a swamp after investigators hovered over the area in a helicopter, taking advantage of the recent thaw and ice-out. The body was found very close to the home of the man deputies call the person of interest in the case, a friend of Jelinek's who is behind bars on an unrelated drug charge. He has not been charged in the missing person case.
"He's not cooperating in this investigation. Now we can begin that investigation even further to see what happened that night," Sheriff Duncan told reporters.
It's a question that has consumed Jelinek's family and friends for 5 months. It has also consumed the people who live near the man authorities call their "person of interest." "Everyone has been praying and no one has forgotten. No one has forgotten about it. No one has forgotten about Danielle," Sara Radich said.
Radich knew today's search was much different than those back in December and January. "It feels more hopeful that this is finally going to come to an end; that there's going to be some closure and resolve," she concluded.
Danielle, a Cottage Grove native and 2003 Park High School graduate, worked at the Wells Fargo bank in Maplewood.