The last time Larry Schufeldt saw his older sister, she was in Wyoming visiting their mother for Mother’s Day and helping around the house with the cooking and cleaning.
By July, however, the whereabouts of Quincy resident Linda Schufeldt were unknown and remained that way until Wednesday, when the mystery came to a grim conclusion.
Plymouth County prosecutors announced skeletal remains found beneath a dismembered body Dec. 28 in Brockton belonged to Linda Schufeldt, who was identified through dental records. The mother of five would have turned 51 last month, her brother said. Authorities have not said when she died.
“I figured this was what the end result would be,” Larry Schufeldt, 47, said Thursday in a telephone interview. “You just don’t go missing for six months without something bad happening to you. I was mentally preparing myself for this.”
Last week, prosecutors announced the dismembered body belonged to Ashley Mylett, 20, of Brockton. The bodies were found in a wooded area off North Quincy Street and Wedgewood Road, a well-traveled route with a Veterans of Foreign Wars hall at the end.
Authorities have called the case suspicious, but have not determined whether the women were victims of homicide, said Bridget Norton Middleton, a spokeswoman for Plymouth District Attorney Timothy J. Cruz.
Cruz has said the remains identified as belonging to Schufeldt had been in the woods longer than Mylett’s body.
Investigators are waiting for the medical examiner’s office to determine how the women died, Norton Middleton said. She declined to say whether they knew each other.
Larry Schufeldt said he believes someone killed his sister.
“Whoever did this to her is going to be reading the newspapers,” he said. “They need to be know that they’re going to be caught.”
Larry Schufeldt, who lives in San Bernardino, Calif., said he contacted police in Massachusetts in August after he stopped hearing from his sister, who normally kept in touch with text messages and phone calls.
About six weeks ago, he said, Quincy police told him they found a receipt indicating that Linda Schufeldt had been in Brockton as recently as July 13, when she pawned a ring at a pawn shop.
Larry Schufeldt said he believes his sister had started using cocaine again. Her driving record includes an entry for a drug-possession charge.
“I just want people to know that regardless of her drug issues, she was not a bad person,” he said. “No one deserves to die like this.”
Linda Schufeldt was born in Nebraska and grew up there and in Colorado in a family of seven children, her brother said. She later spent four years in the Navy, and moved to Massachusetts with her husband, who grew up here, Larry Schufeldt said. The couple later divorced, he said.
Larry Schufeldt said his sister faced bouts of depression, suffered from post-traumatic stress disorder, and was abused by some of her romantic partners. He blamed a boyfriend for getting her hooked on drugs and said she was homeless for a period of time.
During times of stability, she resumed her college studies in business and accounting, and tried to rebuild the relationship with her children, her brother said.
“I remember she was telling me she couldn’t wait for college to start back up,” he said.
One of her children is trying to raise money to pay for burial, Larry Schufeldt said.
Mylett, whose remains were found on the same day, had not been reported as a missing person when her body was found, Norton Middleton said.
A friend said the Brockton woman sought a brighter future, but “got swept away with the street life.”
“She just wanted a better life,” said Natashia Rusconi, 20.
Rusconi said she met Mylett at a music recording studio in Brockton four years ago, and described her as a “very talkative” woman who never stepped out without doing her hair and makeup.
“She was extremely friendly,” Rusconi said. “She was just really nice. She made me feel comfortable.”
Rusconi said she last saw Mylett over the summer when the two enjoyed barbecues together.
“She had her demons, but she definitely doesn’t deserve this,” Rusconi said.Laura Crimaldi can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow her on Twitter @lauracrimaldi.