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Remains of Farmington woman missing since 2019 to return home


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FARMINGTON — A motorcade will escort family members of U.S. Army veteran Cecelia B. Finona to Shiprock after her remains arrive in Albuquerque on July 19.

Finona had not been seen since May 30, 2019, when family members spoke to the 59-year-old at her residence in Farmington. She was missing for more than two years.

The Farmington Police Department reported this month that her remains were identified through DNA in June after being found in Clark County, Nevada.

Her boyfriend, Jerry Jay, was charged on July 2 with murder and kidnapping. Jay was the person of interest in the investigation based on evidence found at Finona's home.

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Jay was arrested on separate charges on June 5, 2019, by the Sparks Police Department in Nevada, where he was in custody as of July 2, according to The Daily Times archives.

According to Finona's family, the flight delivering her body will arrive the morning of July 19 at the Albuquerque International Sunport.

The motorcade will leave the airport at approximately 10:15 a.m. and proceed to U.S. Highway 550 and reach Farmington in the early afternoon.

The group will continue onto U.S. Highway 64 and end at Desert View Funeral Home in Shiprock.

The Navajo Hopi Honor Riders will lead the motorcade on July 19. They will accompany the family the next day for funeral services in Farmington.

Law enforcement will help with the escort, states the Navajo Hopi Honor Riders Facebook page.

Finona served 31 years in the Army, retiring as a master sergeant, according to The Daily Times archives.

She said in a March 20, 2019 interview that she was stationed across the country and overseas, working in a variety of assignments, and raised a daughter, Julietta Faria, and a son, Randy Finona.

She was a member of the veterans organization in Sanostee, where she was a registered chapter member.

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"As days, weeks and months turned into years, it would have been easy to give up and lose all hope. The support, encouragement and prayers of family and community members enabled us to keep going," Finona's family said in a statement to The Daily Times.

It continues, "they say the greatness of a community is most accurately measured by the compassionate actions of its members and this journey proves it to be true. We are truly honored, humbled and eternally grateful for all her friends, colleagues and family who have reached out to us to honor our mother and bring her home."

Noel Lyn Smith covers the Navajo Nation for The Daily Times. She can be reached at 505-564-4636 or by email at nsmith@daily-times.com.

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