NORTH OGDEN -- Her family knew Alexis Rasmussen as a light that shines on even after her death.
Wade Reed, her uncle, described the 16-year-old's bright personality and smile, her beautiful green eyes and lovely personality. That's what her family will never forget about her, or fully recover from the loss of, he said.
"Lexi was a star. You kind of hear that from many people, but she really is," he said. "She was the light in many people's eyes and in their hearts."
Fingerprints and dental records confirmed the human remains found this week in Morgan County were those of Alexis, who had been missing since early September.
The family was notified about the identification late Friday afternoon, said Bishop Ron Flamm, of the North Ogden LDS 17th Ward.
Flamm visited with the family Friday and briefly Saturday.
"They're having a real tough time," he said.
Weber County Attorney Dee Smith said confirmation of the identity doesn't substantially change the course of the investigation.
"We had to be certain before we could announce it to the family, but we knew it was her."
Smith said he could not comment on why officers felt so strongly the remains were those of Alexis. Such details are withheld from the public as an investigatory tool because only a suspect would be aware of them, he said.
As to whether the confidential informant who tipped officers to the location of the remains is a suspect, Smith gave a flat "no comment."
His response was the same on the question of whether Alexis' cell phone had been recovered.
Investigators will reinterview a number of subjects now that Alexis' death is confirmed, Smith said.
"It's officially a criminal investigation, no longer a search ... It's officially a homicide investigation, without question."
Determination of cause of death will take another three to four weeks, he said, with the medical examiner's office waiting on the results of toxicology tests, routinely part of any autopsy to screen for drugs.
While noting they are being investigated, Smith discounted recent media reports of Alexis leaving Eric and Dea Millerberg's home, where she was baby-sitting the night of Sept. 9.
She reportedly left to get a ride home, or to meet a male friend at a nearby school, all in the range of 11 p.m. to midnight.
The seemingly conflicting accounts include her waking the Millerbergs to tell them she was leaving, while around the same time having a telephone conversation with her mother about staying the night at their residence because the Millerbergs were not yet home.
"A lot of that is coming from the Millerbergs," Smith said.
Alexis' mother, Dawn Miera, reported the girl missing when she didn't return from baby-sitting.
The Millerbergs were arrested on unrelated drug charges several days before their home was searched Oct. 9 as part of the investigation. They remain in jail but have not been charged in relation to the girl's disappearance and death.
Neighbors and police say the couple had been running a party house, frequented often by teenagers, in their three years at the house in the 3200 block of 900 East in North Ogden, within a mile of Alexis' home.
Late Friday night, Reed requested on a Facebook page about her disappearance that people change their profile pictures to a candle in her honor. Hundreds of people from around the country were shining a digital candle light for Alexis within 30 minutes, he said.
By 9 p.m. Saturday, the page had more than 5,130 followers and 340 condolences.
"It's Lexi's legacy: Anybody who ever came in contact with Lexi just remembers her. She had kind of one of those striking personalities that no one ever forgets," Reed said.
She also enchanted her family with her singing voice and wowed friends with her art.
Within a matter of days after she vanished, most, if not all, of her family knew something horrible had happened to her, Reed said. As her mother has often said in the past month, Alexis would have called if she had run away.
Her friends and family had to keep posting fliers, rallying and moving forward until they absolutely knew what became of her, Reed said.
"We're sad. We're traumatized," he said. "At the same time, we've got kind of an answer for the last 40 days."
The family gathered Saturday to console and grieve in private. Though no plans are in place at this point, they want to hold a more public gathering for friends, classmates and the many others who miss Alexis and were affected by her life.
Detective Paul Rhoades, North Ogden police spokesman, said making the announcement that Alexis had died was done with "great sadness and heavy hearts."
North Ogden police also thanked Weber County, the state, federal and nonprofit agency investigators for their help in the case.
Flamm said the funeral is planned for 11 a.m. Saturday at the North Ogden Stake Center, 600 E. 2600 North.
The family of Alexis Rasmussen issued a statement on the "Bring Alexis Home" Facebook page.
In part, it says:
"Our beautiful Alexis is sadly gone.
"Our family has endured a catastrophe, one that has changed each of us in ways that are far beyond words. Alexis touched so many people in the past fifty days, just as she did in the time she was here."
The family also thanked all of the Facebook followers and friends for their "support, love and effort, to help keep Alexis' beautiful face out there, in hopes that she would come home safely. This has been such a traumatic event, and loss. The prayers, thoughts, love and support we have received from around the world are embedded in our hearts."
As of 9 p.m. Saturday, more than 340 condolences were expressed on the Facebook page, which had more than 5,130 followers.