Human remains found last year in a remote California forest have been identified as those of a man reported missing in 2006, authorities said.
The partial remains of David Virgil Neily, 69, were discovered by a private forester’s employee in May 2020 in an isolated area in Branscomb.
The Albion man had been reported missing by his family in July 2006, saying he was last seen in the Northern California town months earlier, according to the Mendocino County Sheriff’s Office.
DNA was extracted from the remains, which showed no evidence of trauma, and a positive match was made to Neily, who had a history of mental illness, sheriff’s officials previously said.
“David has a long history of being out of contact with family members for an extended period of time,” investigators said in an earlier statement announcing the at-risk man was missing. “He was last known to be in the Fort Bragg and Westport, CA areas.”
In July 2006, authorities found both of Neily’s vehicles in Westport, some 33 miles from his home in Albion. His recovered remains were discovered last year about 3 miles away from a property in Westport where he had ties. The circumstances leading up to the man’s death remain under investigation, sheriff’s officials said Saturday.
Neily’s daughter, Lisa, maintains a Facebook page about her father’s disappearance and said she’s “not convinced” that foul play wasn’t involved.
“Our dad’s remains were identified,” she wrote early Sunday. “I love you dad and I’m so sorry.”
Neily wrote in September she wanted “closure” some 15 years after her father vanished, but those hopes had been stymied by dead ends in the cold case.
“I want to know what happened to him,” Lisa Neily wrote. “His life is just as important as anyone else.”
Neily told the Associated Press Sunday she still wants answers as to what led up to her father’s demise.
“We’re not giving up hope that we can find out what happened to him,” Neily said. “We’re not giving up.”
Anyone with additional information about Neily should contact the Mendocino County Sheriff’s Office at (707) 463-4086.