Police say a human leg found in the River Irwell in Pendleton belonged to a woman reported missing in 2017.
Marie Scott left her home in Hale near Altrincham before Christmas last year and was last spotted shopping in Bury on 18 December 2017.
The remains were reported to the police in November by members of the public and subsequently underwent DNA testing.
Police say they do not believe there are any suspicious circumstances in Scott’s disappearance.
Detective Inspector Simon Akker, of GMP’s Trafford Borough, said: “This is an absolutely heartbreaking development in the investigation to find Marie, and her family are understandably distraught by the news.
“Having been personally involved in the search to find Marie and met with her family on a number of occasions, I know the devastating impact this will have on them.
“Our efforts now will focus on doing everything we can to ensure we can provide the family with the support and answers they deserve.”