A missing hunter is finally coming home after 53 years.
On September 7, 1968, 39-year-old Raymond Jones walked into the wilderness near Salmon, Idaho to bowhunt mountain goats and was never seen again. That was until September 17, 2021, when his remains were finally found by another bowhunter. Just over 53 years to the day of his disappearance.
Jones initially went missing on the east fork of Hayden Creek. NBC News reports that helicopters, dogs, and a search party of nearly 70 people searched for Jones after his disappearance. Unfortunately, due to snow, the searchers were forced to call off the rescue attempt.
Rescuers did reopen the search briefly after that when some footprints were discovered on a ridge between Hayden Creek and Pahsimeroi Valley according to old clippings posted by East Idaho News. However, the search did not turn up anything and efforts were called off again.
Lemhi County Sheriff Steven Penner told East Idaho News the hunter who discovered Jones' remains was also hunting mountain goats. The hunter was looking for a shortcut when he discovered the remains in some extremely rough terrain. Sheriff's Deputies began the recovery effort the following morning and were able to identify Jones from part of his wallet which still held identification inside.
"It's a real rocky, cliffy area, and we are not really sure what happened," Penner told NBC News. "He was in goat country, and that can be pretty perilous."
Two years after he went missing, Jones was officially declared dead in 1970. Amazingly, East Idaho News reported that Jones' wife is still alive. The body will be turned over to the family shortly, although they no longer live in the area.
"It is still pretty fresh, so they probably need a little bit of time to figure things out," Penner told NBC news.
At least they finally have closure on a half-century long missing person's case.
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