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Investigation identifies remains found in Montana wilderness

September 1, 2021 GMT

BUTTE, Mont. (AP) — Investigators using forensic genealogy have been able to identify human remains found in a southwestern Montana wilderness area seven years ago as a Texas man who was last seen by his parents in 2011, Granite County Sheriff Scott Dunkerson said.

Earlier this year, Dunkerson and the Missoula County cold case squad partnered with Texas DNA lab Othram Inc. to compare DNA gathered from the skeletonized remains to commercial DNA databases. The lab identified two people believed to be the parents of the man.

The state crime lab conducted DNA testing on samples from the parents to confirm the remains belonged to David Jon Milek of Dallas, who was 32 when he went missing.

Dunkerson called the man’s family this week to confirm the results, The Montana Standard reported. He said they were thankful to finally know what happened to their son.

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Milek’s cause of death could not be determined at autopsy, but based on other facts learned during the investigation, foul play is not suspected, Dunkerson said.

A hiker found Milek’s remains along with a sleeping bag, jeans, a knit cap, snake boots and a knife on Aug. 11, 2014 in the Welcome Creek Wilderness area in the Lolo National Forest about 25 miles (40 kilometers) southeast of Missoula.