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'It's real tough': Hope turns into sadness after GBI confirms body found was Anitra Gunn

Anitra Gunn's body was discovered in the woods in Crawford County, just miles from where she was reportedly last seen. Fingerprints confirmed it was her.

CRAWFORD COUNTY, Ga. — The search for 23-year-old Anitra Gunn ended in Crawford County, where her body was discovered. Its discovery brought a tragic end to a days-long search.

Helicopters combed the area from the sky Tuesday while dogs and deputies scoured the ground. As the hours since Gunn was last seen turned into days, investigators worried.

"Time is not our friend. We're moving as fast as we can," said Chief Lawrence Spurgeon with the Fort Valley Police Department.

Still, civilian searchers such as Toni Gibson hung on to hope.

Keep fighting -- we're looking for you, we're looking for you. I don't know you, but I love you," Gibson pleaded.

That hope was dashed late Tuesday afternoon. Anitra Gunn's body was discovered in the woods in Crawford County, just miles from where she was reportedly last seen. Fingerprints confirmed it was her.

Crawford County Sheriff Lewis Walker stated, "You send your child off to go to a school and to further their education, and then all of a sudden, your child is missing, and the next thing, your child is gone... so it's real tough."

Peach County Sheriff Terry Deese said a crucial piece of missing evidence from Anitra's car was found in the same area. "Found Ms. Gunn laying very close to part of that front bumper."

Despite all the technology used in the search, investigators say it was classic police work that located the body. 

A Peach County deputy saw the path as he drove by and decided to search it on foot.

Sheriff Walker says the deputy found a body concealed as if somebody was trying to hide it.

"Basically, it was covered, you know, with limbs, tree limbs, and things like that," said Walker.

Now, Gunn's body and all of the evidence collected at the scene where she was found is with the GBI where crime lab technicians will analyze it.

The case, at this point, is being called a death investigation, not a homicide, and no cause of death has been released.

Anitra Gunn's body is scheduled for an autopsy this week.

The restaurant where Gunn worked, Eighteen 36, is holding a balloon release for her Thursday at 5:30 p.m. on W. Church Street in Fort Valley.

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