Human remains found in the loft space of a house in Milton Keynes, have been confirmed as the body of Leah Croucher, Thames Valley Police said.
Officers began searching the home in Furzton after a tip-off from a member of the public last Monday.
A murder investigation was opened after Ms Croucher’s rucksack and other belongings were found at the property, with dead sex offender Neil Maxwell named as the prime suspect.
Maxwell took his own life in April 2019 – two months after Ms Croucher, 19, vanished on February 15.
He was being hunted across the country by officers over an unrelated alleged sexual assault, Thames Valley Police said.
Maxwell was the only person with keys to the Loxbeare Drive house at the time of Ms Croucher’s disappearance, officers added.
Senior investigating officer Detective Superintendent Kevin Brown, head of the force’s major crime unit, said: “The thoughts of all of us at Thames Valley Police remain and will always be with Leah’s family and friends.
“The entirety of our investigation keeps them uppermost in our minds and they continue to be supported by specially trained officers and updated on every development.
“After a difficult process, we are now in a position to formally confirm that the body found in Loxbeare Drive last week is that of Leah.
“The grief and shock of Leah’s family and friends is unimaginable and they have shown enormous courage, patience and dignity over the last three years and eight months while our search for Leah continued.”
Mr Brown added: “Our investigations into Leah’s murder will leave no stone unturned and we owe it to Leah’s family to ensure we find the truth.
“We are absolutely committed to doing so to allow them to gain an understanding of what happened to Leah.”