More than two years after a Kelso man vanished, a last-ditch search uncovered a human skull and tattered clothing Saturday.
Sam Stefonek was last seen walking into the woods surrounding Mt. Brynion in August 2010. This was the sixth search of the area but the first time investigators have found human remains.
A cadaver dog led rescue volunteers to the skull, according to Cowlitz County Sheriff's Department Spokesman Charlie Rosenzweig.
"It is important to note that the skull has not been positively identified as Stefonek," Rosenzweig said. "Nonetheless, the detectives have made contact with Stefonek's parents."
A family friend who helped with the search efforts in 2010 says he hopes finding the skull, if it is Stefonek, will help his parents find closure.
"Everybody was hoping that they would find him and find him alive, and I think people are still holding out for that," Jon McKee said.
Deputies said, while finding the remains may turn out to be an important part of the case, the investigation into what happened to Stefonek is not over. There is no evidence of trauma to the skull.
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