Mother of Trinity Backus, 16, says she needs ‘time and space to grieve’

The mother of a teenage girl who was reported missing in northern California last week and found dead on Friday has asked for ‘time, and space to grieve’ the loss of her child.

Trinity Backus’s body was discovered in a densely forested river drainage north of her aunt’s house in Nevada County, California on Friday. Backus, 16, disappeared from her aunt’s 12-acre property, where she was staying, on Wednesday night when she left the house in pajamas.

Police say the teenager, a local basketball standout, had walked out of the home in pajamas, shoeless, around 10.30pm reportedly to see her boyfriend, but never returned.

A cause of death has not yet been determined, but authorities say there was ‘nothing suspicious’ about it at this time. The investigation remains ongoing.

In an Instagram Stories post on Saturday to Andrea Stanio’s account – Trinity’s mother – a friend pleaded that the community and the public give Andrea ‘time, and space to grieve.’

‘This is Amanda, Andreas [sic] friend, at this time Andrea needs time, and space to grieve. Please respect that I will reach out when I am able to,’ read the post.

‘Please do not randomly show up to her home. I know you want to be there for her, but please respect her space right now.’

The teen’s cause of death has yet to be determined, but the coroner’s office will soon conduct its own investigation, including an autopsy. A cause of death will likely be released in the coming days.

Stanio said that the last time she saw her daughter she was ‘picking up my youngest daughter from school an dropping her (Trinity) off.’

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‘I was taking my youngest daughter up to the snow. I said, ‘I love you Trin,’ Those were the last words I said to my daughter,’ Stanio said.

The grieving family said that Trinity told her aunt, Ashley Bjorklund, she was heading out to see her boyfriend, who lives roughly 10 miles away.

The family did not reveal the identity of Backus’ boyfriend, or whether he had been expecting to see her Wednesday night. Backus had a friend sleeping over at her aunt’s house when she disappeared.

Dozens of agencies, including 140 people, search dogs, and even some aircraft joined the search Thursday to try and find the local teen. Unfortunately, the effort would end in tragedy on Friday afternoon.

The mysterious death of the red-headed teen sparked an outpouring of horror and sympathy from locals of the area.

‘It’s just too horrific,’ Nevada County resident Tony Loro told CBS News.

Following the search, the sheriff’s office thanked those who assisted with the effort.

‘Our deepest appreciation goes to the hundreds of volunteers from agencies throughout Northern California that have assisted in this search,’ said the officer.

Over the course of the day-and-a-half-long search, the Nevada County Sheriff’s Office posted no less than four times on its Facebook page about Backus’s disappearance.

Authorities from numerous state and city agencies took part in the search for Backus, which began after her aunt reported her missing on Thursday morning.

The girl’s mother, Andrea Stanio, told local outlet KCRA that she last saw her daughter Wednesday at around 3.00pm and that she got a call from the girl’s aunt at roughly 10.47pm that Trinity had left her home ‘running.’

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‘That doesn’t seem like her,’ Stanio, who drove over to Bjorklund’s house roughly 20 minutes away, said. When she arrived, her daughter was nowhere to be found.

The Placer County Sheriff’s Office, the Yuba County Sheriff’s Department, the California Governor’s Office of Emergency Services, and the California Highway Patrol all participated in the search.

Crews were assisted by a FIRIS infrared plane, typically utilized to track the spread of wildfires.

The Butte County Sheriff’s search and rescue team, the Tuolumne County Sheriff’s Office, the Yolo County Sheriff’s Office, the California Rescue Dog Association, the Marin County Sheriff’s Office, and the San Mateo County Sheriff’s Office also aided in the search effort.

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