Sierra Bush, 18, was last seen alive at her family’s home on Sept. 24 near Maple Grove and Goddard roads. The Boise State University student’s body was found Saturday evening just south of Idaho City, the Boise Police Department reported Tuesday.
“At this time, the cause of death is still under investigation,” said Boise County Coroner Pam Garlock in a statement.
Boise police and Boise County are working together to investigate. Family members told the Statesman in early October that they believed Bush was abducted.
“Sierra’s disappearance has been suspicious from the beginning and this is a tragic discovery for everyone who knows her,” said Boise police Sgt. Justin Kendall in a statement. “Every missing person’s case is initially investigated as being suspicious, and Sierra was not the type to disappear without telling anyone. For weeks, our detectives have been following up on leads and our investigation is ongoing.”
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Boise police said a person who was “aware of the circumstance” contacted Boise County dispatch; deputies then found Bush’s body in an “outdoor location.”
The Gender Equity Center at Boise State University will host a vigil Wednesday evening at 6 p.m. in the Student Union Building’s Jordan Ballroom, 1700 University Drive.
Campus leaders will reflect on the impact of Bush’s death, and students and community members will have the opportunity to share their thoughts and memories of Bush, officials said.
Bart Green, Bush’s stepfather and a Meridian attorney, said Bush was full of potential and enjoying her first year at Boise State.
“We are obviously very saddened by this news,” he said. “We want to thank all the people who have made an effort to search for and find Sierra, and we want to thank the law enforcement community for their very concerted efforts.”
Bush was part of the Boise State Honors College and had recently joined the beekeepers club, he said.
“She was a very cheerful young lady,” he said. “She was an excellent student.”
Investigators notified Bush’s family Monday night about the discovery, Green wrote in a Facebook group called “Find Sierra Bush.”
“We are saddened to report that the Boise Police Department notified us last night that Sierra’s body has been found. They requested that we delay saying anything until after they made their press release. Thank you to everyone for your efforts in helping to find Sierra,” he said in the post.
A GoFundMe campaign was started Wednesday morning to cover funeral costs and other expenses. Any extra money will be donated to the Idaho Humane Society, where Sierra volunteered, and to the King of Glory Lutheran Church Mission Endowment Fund, which provides money to the Luther Heights Bible Camp, the Interfaith Sanctuary and the Salvation Army, among other causes.
By early Wednesday afternoon, $1,477 had been donated to the fund.
Friends and others who heard about Bush’s disappearance flooded the site with condolences following Green’s announcement.
“My heart breaks at this news. I’ve known Sierra for darn near my entire life,” wrote Boise resident Charleigh Bain.
Michaela Leboeuf, of Boise, said her heart goes out to all of Bush’s family and friends.
“Nothing could have prepared us for such a tragedy,” Leboeuf wrote.
Teacher Wanda Telin described Bush as a “star student of mine” at Meridian Middle School.
“May she be with God and rest in peace,” Telin wrote. “My heart and prayers go out to her family and anyone who knew her!”
Anyone with information on the case is still urged to leave a tip with Crime Stoppers at 208-343-COPS or to contact BPD at 208-570-6290.
Treasure Valley deaths
→ Paul Russell Jr.’s death in a Garden City shooting means that additional charges are expected against a woman arrested in connection with the incident. The shooting suspects still have not been charged.
→ Graphic details have been released in the killing of Mark Irwin, the Boise projectionist whose body was found in his van in the Foothills. His alleged killer faces a first-degree murder charge.
→ The death of Ronie Parrott, whose remains were found in February in the Foothills, has been ruled a homicide. She was shot multiple times in the head, the Ada County coroner said.