Skeletal remains identified as missing McAlester woman

Holly Cantrell (McAlester News-Capital)

McALESTER, Oka. (McAlester News-Capital) - Pittsburg County Sheriff Chris Morris said skeletal remains found near McAlester were identified as that of missing woman, Holly Cantrell.

The sheriff said remains found in February 2018 on a secluded peninsula in the Cardinal Point Recreation Area were positively identified as Cantrell, a McAlester woman who had been missing since January 2017. Morris said the case will be further investigated as a homicide.

“At this point we don’t have a lot of leads," Morris said Tuesday night. "We’re going to brief detectives tomorrow (Wednesday) and work toward making an arrest to bring justice for the family."

Morris said the next-of-kin was notified of the identification and he hopes to bring closure with a quick arrest.

“We want to do everything we can to solve it and bring justice for them,” Morris said.

Morris said the sheriff's department will work jointly with the McAlester Police Department to conduct and revisit interviews.

Cantrell was 40 when she was reported missing Jan. 20, 2017, when she is known to have left her job at McAlester Regional Health Center at 11:56 a.m. during a lunch break. Hospital security video showed Cantrell wearing green nursing scrubs when she left and got into a green, short wheelbase truck, police said.

Police said the last reported sighting of Cantrell was at 12:20 p.m. that day at the Braum's Restaurant at 625 S. George Nigh Expressway.

The bones were found less than two miles from where a hunter found a purse belonging to Cantrell on Feb. 25, 2017, and were later sent for DNA tests. Morris said the skeletal remains were found on the south end of Cardinal Point and the purse was found on the north end.

Law enforcement officials said at the time the bones were found that the DNA testing would be conducted at the University of North Texas and the process would take a year or longer.

(Copyright McAlester News-Capital)