jessicatush.jpgJessica Tush was last seen alive Wednesday at the Staten Island Mall where she works. New Jersey police officials are now confirming that the body of a young woman found in a shallow grave by hikers in the Garden State's Pine Barrens was that of the missing teenager. An initial medical examination indicates that Tush was likely strangled to death. It was originally suspected that Jessica was abducted by force from the mall, but sources told the Staten Island Advance that it now looks like she left the mall with someone she knew.

After she was unable to contact her daughter, Tush's mother posted a frantic message on her daughter's MySpace page Thursday afternoon:

"Jessica was last seen at BCBG at 2 pm on Wednesday on April 2. She was supposed to go to AJ's Wake at Bedell. Did anyone see her there??? Has any one seen her today or even yesterday? Please it is very important to get in touch with us immediately."

Hikers at the Pine Barrens discovered the body Thursday. NJ State police identified the victim as the missing teen later that day.