Monday, 04 March 2024

REGIONAL: Mendocino officials identify human remains

FORT BRAGG – Human remains discovered last week in Fort Bragg have been identified as those of a man missing since 2003.

The Mendocino County Sheriff's Office reported Wednesday that the remains, found at 19400 South Harbor Drive in Fort Bragg, on July 16, were identified as belonging to 49-year-old Michael Ray Larsen of Fort Bragg.

In December 2003 the Mendocino County Sheriff's Office was contacted by one of Larsen's family members.

The family member, who advised that Larsen was transient and last known to be living in the Fort Bragg area, was concerned because Larsen had not telephoned his family members for the holidays as was his normal routine.

Mendocino County sheriff's detectives conducted several investigations into Larsen's whereabouts and learned his ATM/debit card was last used at the Fort Bragg McDonald's on Aug. 8, 2003.

At approximately 9:15 a.m. July 16, the Mendocino County Sheriff's Office was summoned to the hillside behind the Caito Fisheries business located on South Harbor Drive in Fort Bragg.

When they arrived detectives learned the business' employees had located human remains in a skeletal condition while clearing heavy bush on the hillside. Found on the ground near the remains was a wallet containing photo identification of Larsen.

While conducting a scene examination detectives noticed the remains were located below a steep drop off in the terrain. Above this drop off was the area of a transient encampment. Detectives also noticed the location of the Fort Bragg McDonald's was above this transient encampment.

On Tuesday the teeth of the remains were compared against known dental records of Larsen. Based upon this comparison the remains were identified as Larsen's.

A further examination of the remains were conducted by the Mendocino County pathologist and the remains showed no signs of physical force or violence that would suggest Larsen's death was the result of foul play.

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