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Remains found in California forest identified man missing 15 years

Associated Press

Mendocino, Calif.  — Human remains found in a remote Northern California forest last year have been identified as belonging to a man reported missing for more than 15 years, authorities say.

David Neily was 69 years old when he was last seen by a family member in the coastal town of Albion in April 2006, the Mendocino County Sheriff's Office said in a statement Saturday.

This undated photo released by the Mendocino County Sheriffs Office, Detective Unit shows missing person David Neily.

Investigators later found his vehicles on a property in the tiny town of Westport before the case went cold.

Last May, an employee at private nature reserve contacted the sheriff's office after finding human remains in an old-growth Douglas-fir forest in Branscomb, about 3.5 miles (5.6 kilometers) from where his car was found, the statement said.

DNA analysis of his remains and dental records examined by Jim Wood, a California Assembly member and forensic dentistry expert, determined they belonged to Neily.

The examinations found no evidence of trauma, the statement said, and the sheriff's office continues to investigate the circumstances surrounding Neily's disappearance.

Neily's daughter previously posted online that foul play was suspected.

“We’re not giving up hope that we can find out what happened to him. We’re not giving up,” Lisa Neily told The Associated Press on Sunday.