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Family: Remains of Brian Ward found over a year after disappearance

The father said a person of interest led homicide detectives to a body believed to be of 17-year-old Brian Ward of Petworth.

WASHINGTON — The family of 17-year-old Brian Ward of Petworth said his remains have been found more than a year after he vanished. 

Jonathan Ward said he received a call from the police department on Thursday to alert him about the discovery of a body believed to be of his son's. He said a person of interest identified in the investigation told homicide detectives the whereabouts of the remains. 

Brian was considered critically missing after he was last seen in late September 2020. Jonathan Ward remembers how his son finished and his schoolwork and asked if he could hang out with friends. Brian was last seen climbing into a black four-door Acura a few blocks from his home a few hours later, according to his friends. 

His family said it was highly unusual for Brian not to contact them. 

A spokesperson with the Metropolitan Police Department said the remains were found in Maryland but they have yet to be positively identified by the Office of Chief Medical Examiner. The cause of death was unknown. 

However, Jonathan Ward said items including clothes found at the scene matched his son's belongings.

"The ID and things that he had on and the clothes described to us that he had on pointed that it was pretty much him," Jonathan Ward said. "There were personal items that his brother gave him so even without an autopsy, they gave us condolences, so almost sure this is my son."

Brian leaves behind his parents and seven siblings. While Jonathan Ward said the news bring some type of closure, it was also his worst nightmare.

"Right now my heart is just broke and my kids and my wife are broken-hearted," Jonathan Ward said. "It's very devastating to know something like this happened."

Jonathan Ward said he does not know the identity of the person of interest. He and another son spoke with homicide detectives last weekend. 

The community has been vigilant in getting the word out about the case ever since he vanished. The popular Facebook series Red Table Talk, hosted by actress Jada Pinkett Smith and her family, interviewed Jonathan Ward and his wife Lavengela Ward to bring more exposure. 

In the interview, Jonathan Ward said he knew something was wrong when his two other children called him that evening concerned he had not returned home.

"Brian is a happy kid," " Lavengela Ward said in the interview. "He's not sad, he was not depressed or lonely, always happy and loves to come home and eat up everything. He never disrespected us."

RELATED: Family concerned for missing teen last seen in September

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