Beaverhead County officials said they believe the remains of a former Butte man and Arizona resident who had been missing for several months were found this week in the McKnight Canyon area of the Tendoy Mountains.

On Tuesday, a horseback rider reported an abandoned vehicle west of the Kidd exit of Interstate 15, about a quarter mile into U.S. Forest Service land in an area used for parking, Beaverhead County Sheriff Jay Hansen said in a press release. The sheriff’s office identified the green Chrysler Sebring as belonging to 71-year-old James Richard Bailey, who had lived in Casa Grande, Ariz.

Hansen said 12 members of the sheriff’s office and search and rescue volunteers searched west of the car Thursday. They discovered the remains about a mile and a half from the vehicle.

Bailey was reported as missing on Aug. 9. Hansen said he was initially reported missing out of Silver Bow County, even though he lived in Arizona.

Butte-Silver Bow County Sheriff John Walsh said Bailey’s wife called to report him missing on Aug. 8 after not hearing from him for two months. Walsh said Bailey was in the process of moving to Butte and was heading back down to Casa Grande when he went missing. Bailey’s wife called him after last seeing him in mid June.

The couple was accustomed to spending long amount of time apart and Walsh said she waited two months after failing to hear from her husband before reporting him missing.

Beaverhead County Coroner Ron Briggs will transport the remains to the Montana State Crime Lab in Missoula for identification and cause of death.


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