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Missing Kalamazoo woman's body ID'd by DNA, family spokesperson recalls her smile

According to Ashley Young's family, the 31-year-old was last seen at a Grand Rapids bar on the evening of Nov. 29 with 29-year-old Jared Chance (right). (WWMT/Contributed)

The Grand Rapids Police Department has officially identified the body found in a residential basement Sunday, Dec. 2, as 31-year-old Ashley Regina-Maria Young of Kalamazoo. She was last seen Tuesday, Nov. 29, and had been reported missing. Now, a spokesperson with Young's family is speaking out, recalling her smile and kind soul.

Missing persons advocate Kellie Boers spoke to Newschannel 3 on behalf of Young's family, describing how Young's personality could light up a room given her positivity. Boers declined to talk about the investigation.

“She had very kind soul, and she exuded that not only in her presence,” Boers said. “You could see that she was a beautiful, beautiful girl by the way she treated people, she showed it, that she was that way on the inside too. Very, very amazing soul. She had a saying that she would tell people when she felt like somebody might be having a bad day: 'If I bought you a smile, would you wear it? Yes, I would.'"

WHAT WE KNOW: The disappearance and discovery of Ashley Young

According to Young's family, the 31-year-old was last seen at a Grand Rapids bar on the evening of Nov. 29 with 29-year-old Jared Chance. She was reported as missing person by the Kalamazoo County Sheriff's Office on Monday, Dec. 3, a day after a body suspected to be her was found in the basement of a Grand Rapids home, near the 900 block of Franklin Street SE.

A resident who lived in the same building as Chance called Grand Rapids police Sunday, Dec. 2, at 4:13 p.m. to report the discovery of a body in the basement of the home. Yashieka Christian said she told her boyfriend to investigate the home's basement after recalling a "sewage-like" odor, along with finding boxes on the porch and a trash can full of items, including work boots.

“I didn't know what it was at first," Christian said. "It was something wrapped up. It was a big piece of tarp on the steps.”

Sources close to the investigation told Newschannel 3 the woman’s body was mutilated in an attempt to hide her identity.

Young's remains, verified through DNA analysis, were identified by officials Friday, Dec. 7.

WHAT WE KNOW: Jared Chance charged with mutilation, concealing death

Chance, 29, is being held at the Kent County Jail following his arraignment Wednesday, Dec. 5 and facing two criminal charges: one count of mutilating, defacing, removing or carrying away a portion of a body contrary to Michigan law, a felony punishable by a maximum of 10 years in prison and/or $5,000 fine; and one count of discovering a body and failing to inform proper authorities while having a purpose to conceal the fact or cause of death of that person, a felony with a 5-year maximum jail sentence and up to $5,000 in fines.

His bond was set at $750,000. He was charged as a fourth-time repeat offender.

Police are still investigating a cause of death, and no charges have been filed related to how she died.

A GoFundMe has been established by members of the family to assist with the expenses from Young's funeral.

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