The vicar of the church where the remains of Gladys Hammond were stolen said her prayers had been answered as police today confirmed they had found the 82-year-old's body.
The Rev Jenny Lister, Rector of Yoxall, said she hoped the bones discovered on Cannock Chase on Monday night would prove to be those of Mrs Hammond so that her family could finally lay her to rest.
The remains - discovered after officers received new information about the grave robbery - are now being DNA-tested to see if they are Mrs Hammond's.
The body of Mrs Hammond (pictured), whose son-in-law co-owns a former guinea pig breeding farm, were stolen under cover of darkness in October 2004 from the grounds of St Peter's Church in Yoxall, Staffordshire.
Det Chief Insp Nick Baker confirmed that police were led to the isolated spot,13 miles away from Yoxall, by "new information".
Mr Baker said: "Searches began late yesterday afternoon and we have discovered what we believe to be a human body. It is too early to say at this stage if the remains belong to Mrs Gladys Hammond.
"They will undergo DNA and other tests to try to establish identity. This could take several days.
"Although I know questions still need to be answered, I am hopeful that this may prove to be the development that we and Gladys Hammond's family have been waiting for."
The body of Mrs Hammond, who died in 1997, was stolen by animal rights activists involved in a long-running hate campaign against David Hall and Partners, the owners of Darley Oaks Farm in nearby Newchurch.
The apparent breakthrough came just ten days before four animal rights extremists are due to be sentenced at Nottingham Crown Court for conspiracy to blackmail the farm.
In a statement issued by Stafford-shire Police, Mrs Hammond's daughters, Janet Palmer and Margaret Hall, both expressed hope that the remains were those of their late mother.
Margaret Hall, speaking on behalf of the Hall family, said: "We do hope for a positive identification of my mother and that we can return her to her rightful resting place.
"We do not wish to make any further comment at this stage."
Rev Lister said: "I hope that when the body is identified it proves to be that of Mrs Hammond, so that her remains can be laid to rest once again.
"We believe that Mrs Hammond is at peace; but I pray that this will begin to bring healing to her family who have suffered so much."
Those who have admitted taking part in the conspiracy against Darley Oaks have been warned they are facing lengthy jail sentences.
Also in today's Post: