(UPDATE) The Ravalli County Sheriff's Office says the human remains found in the Bitterroot National Forest on Monday, July 25, 2022, are likely those of Philip Matthew Stokey of Missoula.
Sheriff Steve Holton said the human remains found in the Selway Wilderness Monday night have been tentatively identified as Stokey.
Stokey, 37 years old at the time, was the subject of an intense search and rescue operation in August of 2020 but was never found.
Sheriff Holton stated said a Forest Service Trail Crew discovered the remains Monday night and notified the RCSO.
Investigators hiked in Tuesday morning and found the scene about five miles from the Bass Creek Trailhead.
After processing the scene and recovering the remains, Sheriff Holton said they are confident in the identity due to the evidence that was recovered.
He said the RCSO will work with the Montana State Crime Lab to confirm the identity and determine the cause and manner of death.
Sheriff Holton added, "Our prayers continue to be with the Stokey family. We were happy to bring Phillip home and while we hope this information helps bring a little closure for them, we understand that it is hard news for anyone to hear."
(1st REPORT, JULY 26, 2022) Bitterroot National Forest officials have confirmed with MTN News that possible human remains were found on Tuesday, July 26, 2022, in the Bass Creek area.
Bitterroot National Forest spokesperson Tod McKay says a US Forest Service crew performing trail work in the Bass Creek area on the Stevensville Ranger District found the possible human remains at around 12 p.m. on Tuesday.
McKay tells MTN News the Ravalli County Sheriff's Office is currently in the area investigating.
MTN News has contacted the Sheriff's office for more details, but have not yet received a response.
We will update you if we get more information.
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