PORTLAND – The skeletal remains of a 24-year-old Portland woman who was reported missing in July were discovered Sunday “in a remote area of the state,” police said Thursday.

Portland police released few details about the disappearance and death of Elena Lozada, including where her remains were found. They said the state Medical Examiner’s Office had identified the body and an investigation is ongoing.

Lozada’s mother, Carrie Cronkite of Aroostook County, reported her daughter missing in July after not hearing from her for an unusual length of time.

Lozada, who had moved out of an apartment on Grant Street in Portland and was staying with friends, said she had plans to move to Boston, police said in December.

A website and Facebook page were dedicated to the search for Lozada. A prayer vigil was planned for April 29. Instead, a memorial service will be held at 7 p.m. that day at the Family Christian Center in Presque Isle.

In February, the Long Island, N.Y., newspaper Newsday reported that Lozada was a sex worker who advertised on Craigslist, and that her family thought police weren’t urgently searching for her because of her history of illicit activity.

The article said police didn’t know whether Lozada’s disappearance could be linked to the deaths of four escorts, including Megan Waterman of Scarborough, who advertised on Craigs- list and whose bodies were found on Long Island in December.

Waterman was reported missing about a month before Lozada was. Less than a week after the bodies were discovered on Long Island, Portland police called on the public for information regarding Lozada’s disappearance.

According to Newsday, the family members of Lozada and Waterman have been in contact. Neither family could be reached for comment Thursday.

Dean Lawrence, a friend of Lozada’s parents who was at their home in Westfield on Thursday, said the family was notified by police Thursday morning about the discovery of Lozada’s remains.

Lawrence said Lozada’s mother and her stepfather, Randy Cronkite, were not ready to talk about their daughter or the circumstances of her death.

Lozada had three brothers and a sister, who will travel to Aroostook County from in and out of state for her memorial service next week, Lawrence said.

Portland police are classifying the case as an unattended death with suspicious circumstances, according to a news release from the department.

Maine State Police are assisting with the investigation.

Portland police said in the news release that they will provide more details about the case in the next few days.

Staff Writer Leslie Bridgers can be contacted at 791-6364 or at:

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