Friends of a missing Blount County woman fear the worst after unidentified human remains were discovered near her home.

Mary Ruth Walker disappeared in early May. Knox County forensic experts conducted an autopsy Saturday after human remains were found near Butterfly Gap Loop near Maryville.

That is the same street Walker lives on.

Walker is an avid quilter and spends most of her Thursdays at Mountain Creek Quilt Shop in Greenback. Her friends are convinced the remains found were Walker’s.

"If this is Ruthie, if it's her, we need to bury her and we need to get her in a place beside her husband so she can rest in peace," shop owner Theresa Ayers said.

When Ayers opened the shops on Saturday, she said the place was full.

“[There were] people coming to give us hugs because they knew how much she was a part of our lives,” Ayers said.

On Saturday morning, Ayers placed a white chair with a purple ribbon in front of the store to honor her friend.

"I feel like with a chair, then Ruthie would always be here. We won't forget her. She can sit out here under the stars,” she said.

The group is planning to make a quilt in memory of their friend.