By Anna Giles

AUBURN (CBS 13) — The Placer County Sheriff announced Monday his team has finally recovered Christie Wilson’s body after more than a decade of searching.

Wilson disappeared after leaving the Thunder Valley Casino nearly 15 years ago with Mario Garcia, the man who was found guilty of her murder shortly after. It was the first murder conviction in the county without a body.

Finding Christie’s body has been a painful process for her family, who just wanted a proper burial. They kept close contact with deputies until they finally walked out of the Placer County Sheriff’s Office with their goal accomplished.

“Today I have the peace that we are so deserving of as a family. And that I know Christie would want us to have,” said Debbie Boyd, Christie’s mom.

Boyd’s tenacity brought her daughter home. Attorneys on the case credit her with “turning grief into action.” When time passed, she never wore down. She kept asking questions and making follow-ups.

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“I never lost hope. I never did,” she said.

The search spanned nearly 15 years and crossed cities and counties with no luck. But last week, new technology and a tip gave detectives the lead they needed.

“Searching for Christie was, as one of the investigators said, was like looking for a needle in a haystack but everything’s the haystack,” said Placer County Sheriff Devon Bell.

A ground-penetrating radar detected her body on her killer’s four-and-a-half-acre property in Auburn. Doctors confirmed it was Christie through dental records. The sheriff’s office would not say who gave the tip that helped them find Christie’s body.

Mario Garcia was found guilty for her murder back in 2007 and has never cooperated in the case. Even after Christie’s mom tried to meet with him make a personal plea.

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“The day he decided he was going to reach out and try and use my daughter’s body as a bargaining chip was the day I said absolutely not,” Boyd said.

The discovery of Christie’s body does not change Garcia’s case, but Placer County District Attorney Morgan Gire said it brings validation to the jury that put him away.

“They got it right. They knew it and they all knew it and today even Mr. Garcia knows it,” Gire said.

And now Christie’s family can rest.

“I have hoped and prayed for this day for so so long. And although bittersweet, it is a happy day,” said Stacey Wilson, her sister.

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