A group hiking near Darrington last week found the remains of a Seattle man who has been missing for 3-1/2 years, authorities announced Thursday.
The Snohomish County Medical Examiner’s Office confirmed that the remains belong to Gregory E. Keller, a 59-year-old who never returned from a camping trip in that area in October 2009.
The office said it had not yet determined the cause or manner of death.
Keller told friends on Oct. 27, 2009, that he was planning to go on a weeklong camping trip somewhere between Darrington and Granite Falls off the Mountain Loop Highway. When he did not return, his friends called authorities on Nov. 2, 2009.
The Snohomish County Search and Rescue Unit then searched the area for two days and found Keller’s car. They did not find him, however. The car was found near French Creek Trail in a remote, heavily wooded area about 10 miles west of Darrington.
The group that discovered the body was hiking close to the nearby Boulder Creek Trail last Saturday when they saw the remains and called authorities.
Sheriff’s Office spokeswoman Shari Ireton recalled Thursday that the initial search “ran into a lot of dead ends.”
“We don’t classify the circumstances surrounding his death as suspicious, but we can’t rule anything out until we hear back from the medical examiner,” Ireton said.
The Medical Examiner’s Office said it does not have a timeframe for the completion of an autopsy.
A member of Keller’s family declined to comment.