Skeletal remains identified as man who disappeared in 1979


In 1979, Kenneth Bell, a 22-year-old California man, went missing as he was apparently traveling to Washington state to visit family.

On Tuesday, investigators announced they have identified skeletal human remains found in January in a wilderness area in Oregon as those of Bell.

Bell, formerly of Contra Costa County near San Francisco, was identified from personal effects found with the body, the Clackamas County Sheriff’s Office announced. It had previously declared the case a homicide. A DNA confirmation is underway.

The remains, including a partial skull, were found on Jan. 8 by a timber crew working in steep terrain near Molalla. Search-and-rescue volunteers set up ropes for authorities to access the site.

Bell’s mother has died since she reported her son missing in 1979, when he would have been 22 years old. He worked in the timber industry in the late 1970s, and frequented the Portland area then.

The sheriff’s office encouraged anyone who knew Bell in the late 1970s to contact detectives.

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