Human remains found earlier this month off a Rabun County trail have been confirmed to be those of a 56-year-old Kennesaw man who disappeared in the area in July, authorities said Monday.
The GBI Division of Forensic Science on Friday positively identified the remains as those of missing hiker Richard Arnold Masters. Masters’ family was notified before the finding was publicly announced Monday, Rabun Coroner Sam Beck said.
The remains had been found off of Bartram Trail in the Darnell Creek area, said county Sheriff Frank Andrews. Investigators previously said they believed the body was Masters’ based on items found with it.
No foul play is suspected, “however, the case is still under investigation,” Andrews said in a news release. The cause of the man’s death was not reported.
About 10 a.m. Sept. 15, a Rabun resident discovered the remains while walking in the area and notified the Mountain City Police Department, which in turn contacted the Sheriff’s Office.
Masters was reported missing by his brother Ken Masters of Acworth on July 21. The brother said he had not seen his sibling since July 19, but that he was known to enjoy hiking in the Tallulah Falls area of Rabun.
Sheriff’s personnel, assisted by officers of the state Department of Natural Resources, U.S. Forest Service and Tallulah Falls police began searching for Richard Masters’ vehicle.
On July 26, sheriff’s deputies found the dark blue late 1990s-model Jeep Cherokee unoccupied at the end of Kelsey Mountain Road. The vehicle was secured, and there were no signs of foul play.
Authorities conducted an extensive search of area trails, using aircraft and K-9 teams. They also distributed photos of Masters to other hikers and posted them in area stores, but the man was not found.
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