Isela Villalobos, of McAllen, Texas, was among relatives of Laura Garza who appeared via satellite Tuesday on NBC’s “Today” show.
Villalobos said Garza’s mother, Elizabeth Ezquivel, had clung to her phone for 16 months after her daughter disappeared.
She turned it off for the first time on Friday, when she got the news. Villalobos said that was “a really sad moment” for the grieving family.
Garza had moved to Brooklyn five months before she disappeared.
The aspiring dancer left the nightclub on Dec. 3, 2008, with a registered sex offender. He has been investigated but not charged in the case.