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Human remains found near base of Mission Mountains

by Lake County Leader
| March 30, 2021 4:50 PM

The Lake County Sheriff’s Office on March 30 announced the discovery of human remains at the base of the Mission Mountains Southeast of Ronan, possibly ending the search for a Ronan man who went missing last summer.

Lake County 911 took a report Tuesday morning of possible human remains discovered. The remains were located about 75 yards east of the irrigation canal that parallels the mountains. Deputies responded and located a decomposed human body, according to a press release issued by Sheriff Don Bell. Detectives processed the scene and secured the body for transport to the state crime lab.

Bell said that due to the proximity of the remains to the Swartz Lake area, and facts noted by investigators at the scene, it is believed the body is that of 74-year-old Allen Ray, who was reported missing on Aug. 1, 2020, after he was separated from friends he was walking with in the Swartz Lake area.

The identity of the body has not been confirmed, nor has a manner of death.

The Sheriff’s Office and Lake County Search and Rescue scaled back search efforts for Ray in late August, nearly three weeks after he went missing.

Search efforts included several hours-long ground searches using dozens of Sheriff’s Office and Search and Rescue personnel, air searches by Two Bear Air, searches of nearby waterways, and multiple search dog teams from Flathead County’s SAR units.

Multiple interviews were conducted with individuals with whom Allen had contact, and others who were in the Swartz Lake area on the day he went missing.