FALMOUTH — The remains discovered last week in Falmouth have been positively identified as belonging to a Richmond woman who was reported missing nearly two years ago.

Anneliese Heinig

The Falmouth Police Department, in a news release issued Wednesday, said the remains belong to Anneliese Heinig.

Following the Sept. 12 discovery of the remains, the Heinig family issued this statement:

“The family of Anneliese Heinig would like to express their gratitude to all of those involved in the search for her and whose compassion helped us keep our faith. It is gratifying to know there are so many truly wonderful people in our greater community and we are grateful for their kind and loving support. Although the outcome is not what we had hoped for, we have, at least, been granted some closure and that Anneliese is at peace. We ask for privacy during this time.”

According to the news release, a portion of Heinig’s remains were located by a kayaker in a tidal area along the Presumpscot River in Falmouth.

Falmouth Police, and Maine State Police crime scene investigators recovered additional remains Sept. 12, before the turning tide halted the search. Investigators returned the following day with both cadaver dogs and evidence technicians to continue the search and process the area where the remains were found.

At the time, Falmouth Police Chief John Kilbride said his department had notified Heinig’s family of the discovery.

Falmouth Police and other agencies have been searching the area around the Presumpscot River since December 2019.

Heinig was last seen in Richmond in November 2019. Her daughter reported her missing on Nov. 28, when Heinig did not show up at a family Thanksgiving gathering.

Two days before Heinig was reported missing, a person matching her general description was seen around 6:30 a.m. walking away from a vehicle parked on the shoulder of Interstate 295, nearly 40 miles from her home in Richmond. Despite the heavy traffic on that stretch of highway that morning, no one else had reported seeing anyone walking on the shoulder of the highway.

That vehicle, a Mercury Mariner, was ordered towed by the Maine State Police later that day. It was tracked to a tow yard in South Portland after the Richmond Police Department pinged Heinig’s phone after she was reported missing.

Heinig’s parents, Christopher and Anne Heinig, had loaned their SUV to their daughter. When they retrieved it, they found their daughter’s wallet, keys and cell phone in the vehicle, along with birthday items for Heinig’s teenage daughter, whose birthday had just passed.

In the weeks following Heinig’s disappearance, friends and family distributed “missing” posters across the region and used social media to reach out for help finding the missing mother of two.

The following week, the Falmouth Police Department, along with the Maine State Police, Maine Marine Patrol and Maine Warden Service launched a search in the area where the Presumpscot River flows into Casco Bay with boats and aircraft. It was suspended briefly when a storm blew through the region, but no signs of Heinig were found.

In mid-December, members of her family acknowledged they might not see her again, but that they would not give up the search.

Public records detail Heinig’s troubled past, including threats to jump off a bridge. More than a year before her disappearance, she had been under a court order to complete a psychiatric program at Mid Coast Hospital in Brunswick and to seek counseling for post-traumatic stress disorder and substance abuse, following a violent outburst that prompted the father of her younger child to seek a protection from abuse order against her.

In an interview with the Kennebec Journal, Christopher Heinig acknowledged his daughter’s past problems, but said she had completed counseling and was remaining active with one of her therapy groups.

In August 2020, Falmouth Police renewed their search, and in a news conference Kilbride said the department was hoping the increased summertime boating traffic on that section of the Maine coast would see something and report it.

“We weren’t hoping for this outcome,” Richmond Police Chief James Donnell said Wednesday. “We send our condolences to the family. She can be laid to rest like she deserves.”

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