Jul 20, 2010 10:49 AM by KRTV News (Great Falls)

Missing OK man found dead in Yellowstone National Park

The body of Peter Louis Kastner of Oklahoma, reported missing in Yellowstone National Park in May, has been discovered.

Last Wednesday afternoon, a group of researchers working off trail in the park’s backcountry came upon human remains. They hiked out and notified park rangers, who then hiked into the area Thursday to confirm the researcher’s discovery.

Rangers found the body of a young man near the top of Garnet Hill, a prominent summit northwest of Tower Junction. The site is well off established trails and east of the Hellroaring Trailhead, where a rental car belonging to Kastner was discovered abandoned in late May.

The body was removed by helicopter, and then taken to Bozeman for a forensic autopsy, which confirmed the remains were those of the 25-year-old man. The autopsy revealed that Kastner died from a self-inflicted gunshot wound.

Kastner had been the subject of an ongoing search since May 31, when a check on the red Cadillac STS sedan parked at the trailhead showed that the vehicle was two weeks overdue from an Oklahoma City car rental agency. Family members who were then contacted said they had not been in touch with Kastner in recent weeks, and reported him missing.

A series of searches by ground teams, dog teams, and from the air had failed to turn up any clues to the missing man’s whereabouts, until Wednesday’s discovery by researchers.

Kastner had been honorably discharged from the Marine Corps after serving for four years. During his service, he was injured twice by Improvised Explosive Devices while serving in Iraq.

He had recently moved to Oklahoma City from the Minneapolis - St. Paul, Minnesota, area to attend college.