Shortly after the body of 35-year-old Ana Carrillo was found on Thursday, the man accused in her death waived a court hearing on an open murder charge, sending the felony case to Kent County Circuit Court.

As friends and family of Carrillo looked on, Andrew Francis Hudson agreed to waive his preliminary hearing in Wyoming District Court. The hearing got underway late Wednesday afternoon and included testimony from four witnesses. It played out as investigators searched for Carrillo's body in and around Johnson Park in the city of Walker.

Moments after Hudson left the courtroom on Thursday, Carrillo family members were pulled aside and informed that her body had been found. Police did not disclose the location, but said it was not at Johnson Park.

“Today is a sad day, but a good day,’’ Wyoming Public Safety Director James Carmody said. “We committed to Ana’s family that we’d do everything that we could to bring Ana home and we’ve done that.’’

Ruben Martinez, a relative who has acted as spokesman for the Carrillo family, called the news bittersweet.

“It’s just a blessing that Ana’s home and now we can tell her kids that,’’ he said outside the courtroom. “There’s a lot of hurt still, lot of emotion still, but at the same time, we’re happy she can come home.’’

Carrillo was Hudson’s former girlfriend and mother of his three children. She was last seen alive on Sept. 3. Police say they believe Hudson lured Carrillo to his home on Colby Avenue south of 36th Street SW under the pretense of picking up their children. The kids were not there, however.

Within days of her disappearance, friends and family handed out fliers and canvassed the neighborhood, seeking information about Carrillo's whereabouts. They searched areas of Kent and Newaygo counties.

Investigators interviewed members of Hudson’s family and obtained a search warrant for his home. He was booked into the Kent County Jail on Sept. 8 and charged with open murder about five weeks later.

During testimony Wednesday, a Wyoming police crime scene technician said blood evidence was found throughout Hudson’s home.

Todd Masula told the court blood evidence was found on the basement floor, on cabinets and in the kitchen. There was also evidence someone tried to clean up the blood, he testified. Traces of blood were found in a toolbox in Hudson’s pickup truck, Masula testified.

Investigators recovered evidence from a backyard burn barrel, including buttons, zippers, clasps and wiring from a bra, Masula told the court. The evidence was consistent with Aeropostale clothing Carrillo was known to have worn.

Carmody said even without Carrillo's body, investigators were able to forge a strong case against Hudson, 39.

“We put together a circumstantial case that I thought was exceptional,’’ he said. “We would have convicted him without a body, but I think it is critically important that we bring Ana home to her family.’’

If Hudson’s defense attorney is able to work out a plea agreement with the Kent County Prosecutor’s Office, a trial would be unnecessary. Three others, including Hudson’s parents, face felony charges for lying to investigators. Those cases are pending in Kent County Circuit Court.

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