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Family desperate for answers after remains found along the Neches River identified as missing Beaumont grandmother

"I don't know if getting closure will fix it, but I want to know what happened to my mama. I want to know what happened to my mama and why."

BEAUMONT, Texas — The identification of human remains that were found in Beaumont has brought some relief and more questions to the family of a woman who was previously reported missing. 

Laura Gutierrez’s family knew her as the glue that kept them together. She went missing in December 2022, and her disappearance rattled her loved ones.

In late January 2023, a fisherman discovered human remains in a fishing pond along the Neches River. Through DNA testing, police confirmed the remains belonged to Gutierrez.

The discovery has left Gutierrez's family wondering what happened to their loved one. Beaumont Police are investigating to try and bring the family answers.

Related: Remains found near Salt Water Barrier identified as Beaumont woman missing since December

Credit: Julia Salazar

"We were missing the biggest parts in our lives for months," Rosa Gutierrez, Laura Gutierrez’s youngest daughter, said. "Not knowing. Not knowing anything,"

Those who knew and loved Laura Gutierrez describe her as a woman who enjoyed dressing up and knew how to cook a good meal. Gutierrez’s family said she would wake them up with the smell of breakfast while singing and dancing.

"This is the biggest hole I've ever felt in my life," Rosa Gutierrez said. "This is the biggest hurt that I've ever felt, and I don't know if getting closure will fix it, but I want to know what happened to my mama. I want to know what happened to my mama and why."  

The last time Rosa Gutierrez saw her mother was December 3, 2022, her mom's birthday. She worked the night shift at H-E-B and came home to find her mom sleeping in her bed. 

Rosa Gutierrez woke her mother up and surprised her with a birthday cake. Laura Gutierrez disappeared a few days after the special moment took place.

"I put 56 on the candles," Rosa Gutierrez said. "She had came in, and she was so surprised and happy. She was like, 'Oh my god. I love it. Thank you.' And she gave me a hug and a kiss. She blew out her candles, and we ate the cake together that night, just us two."

GOFUNDME | How you can help Laura Gutierrez’s with funeral expenses

The family is asking for financial help to bury their loved one as they grieve their unexpected loss.

"This was not expected," Rosa Gutierrez said. "This was not planned, and I do feel that pressure of not doing something great for her."

Laura Gutierrez's official cause of death has not been determined. Police believe tests to determine how she died could take months.

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