The Trinity County Sheriff’s Office reported Tuesday that the remains of Michael Wade Sr., missing since May 9, were found near Big Bar. According to a TCSO release, a Forest Service employee found skeletal remains on Forest Service land on Oct. 1.
“Deputies and Trinity County Search and Rescue members responded to the area and conducted additional searches, during which time they recovered skeletal human remains as well as indicia and other items specific to Michael Wade Sr.,” the release stated.
A forensic pathologist was brought to the area and conducted an autopsy on the remains. According to the Sheriff’s Office, no signs of foul play were discovered.
Sheriff’s Detective Josh Ford said the pathologist examined the bones for any fractures or other signs of trauma but found nothing suspicious.
Ford said that while DNA confirmation has not been made, investigators are certain it was him, since his wallet, ID, cash and clothing matching his last description were located in the area. He added that Wade was known to have no teeth, which matched the skeletal remains found there. He said some samples are being sent to a DNA lab in Richmond for comparison and confirmation.
Ford said Wade’s body was located a couple ridges over from his residence, about 1.2 miles as the crow flies. Several searches were conducted after his disappearance, and fliers were distributed around the Big Bar area. At the time, Wade’s family told investigators that he regularly hiked on trails in the area and that he may have done so before he went missing.
Wade was 63. His family has been notified about the discovery and confirmation.