Nevada County authorities link jawbone to missing Tulare County man
March 14, 2017
Nevada County authorities have identified a jawbone found late last year as belonging to missing Tulare County hiker Timothy Hansston, who disappeared in August near the South Yuba River Trail, officials said.
It's unknown if Hansston's death is connected to a shooter who struck a search and rescue volunteer in the hip as the team searched for the missing man.
Tests linked the jawbone, found on Christmas Eve by a hiker, to the 75-year-old Hansston last week, Coroner Mike Sullivan said.
"Obviously, on this one we don't have anything that points to manner or exact cause of death," Sullivan added.
A forensic dentist identified the jawbone as Hansston's, and then sent the remains to the state Department of Justice. Specialists will take DNA from the remains and place it in a database. If any more remains are found, the DNA on file will help authorities identity them. Authorities will wait for river levels to fall before conducting a thorough search of the area, Sullivan said.
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"It's going to be a difficult situation to find more remains," Sullivan said, pointing to the intense winter rains the region received.
Officials will return the remains to Hansston's family, once the DNA from the jawbone is obtained, the coroner added.
Hansston was last seen Aug. 4, when he left in his vehicle for a hike. His disappearance led authorities and search and rescue volunteers to look for him in the surrounding river area and trail system, which are a few miles downstream from Washington.
During one search an unknown assailant shot at a three-man search and rescue team, striking Steven Wolf in the hip. A helicopter rescued the trio, and Nevada County supervisors honored Wolf in a ceremony this year.
Authorities stopped the search for both Hansston and the gunman days after the shooting.
The jawbone linked this month to Hansston was found on Christmas Eve by Isaac Jones while hiking at Edwards Crossing. Contacted Tuesday, Jones expressed his sorrow for Hansston's family.
"I had so many questions I could not answer," Jones said. "Now maybe their family can get some peace."
To contact Staff Writer Alan Riquelmy, email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 530-477-4239.