Police have confirmed a family’s worst fears.
The body of a Valley woman missing since January was found earlier this week in the Sunflower area south of Payson, with a self-inflicted gunshot wound.
An autopsy confirmed the woman’s identity as Holly Marie Bruce, 25, who went missing from her Valley home after buying a handgun Jan. 4.
Early in the search, family and friends believed Bruce might have come to the Rim Country because she liked to hike in the area. They posted fliers around town, but had no clues to her whereabouts.
On Monday, the Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office got a call of suspicious gray Jeep in the Tonto National Forest, south of Sunflower, from a citizen who recalled seeing the Jeep in the same location on another occasion.
Officers found Bruce’s Jeep, then 100 feet away found her body and a gun. An autopsy revealed Bruce died from a single, self-inflicted gunshot.
Bruce’s family told police they feared she was depressed and suicidal.
She had reportedly battled depression ever since her father committed suicide 10 years ago in the woods; it then spun out of control after she was involved in a vehicle accident in the Valley where a man was killed crossing a roadway.
A friend of Bruce said the 25-year-old was attending college and managed a restaurant.