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Sheriff: Skeletal remains found near Molalla identified as California man who was reported missing in 1979

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Skeletal remains that were located by a timber crew near Molalla earlier this year have been identified, according to the Clackamas County Sheriff's Office.

Posted: Apr 13, 2021 11:40 AM
Updated: Apr 13, 2021 11:46 AM

Click here for updates on this story

CLACKAMAS COUNTY, OR (KPTV) -- Skeletal remains that were located by a timber crew near Molalla earlier this year have been identified, according to the Clackamas County Sheriff's Office.

On Jan. 8, a Weyerhauser crew was planting trees in a steep ravine off a private logging road when they found the remains, including a partial human skull.

Scraps of clothing were also found in the area. Additional items recovered at the site included a white low-top style canvas athletic shoe - size 9.5, and a dark-gray metal ring with a squared red stone.

Following an investigation, the sheriff's office said the remains were identified as Kenneth Lee Bell, born 1957, formerly of Contra Costa County, California.

The sheriff's office said Bell was identified from personal effects found with the body. DNA confirmation is currently underway.

According to the sheriff's office, Bell's mother, who is now deceased, reported him missing in 1979, when he was 22 years old. He appears to have disappeared while traveling from the Bay Area to Washington to visit family.

Bell worked in the timber industry in the late 70s, and frequented the Portland area in that time period, according to the sheriff's office.

The investigation is ongoing.

Anyone who knew Bell in the late 70s is being asked to contact detectives through the sheriff's office tip line at 503-723-4949 or online at clackamas.us/sheriff/tip. Please reference case number 21-000584.

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