By Clair McFarland and Jimmy Orr, Cowboy State Daily
The mystery of the foot found floating in a hot pool in Yellowstone is now linked officially to a man who went missing this summer.
Authorities from Yellowstone National Park announced Thursday morning that the foot, which was discovered bobbing in the Abyss Pool in the West Thumb Geyser Basin in August, belongs to II Hun Ro, a 70-year-old man from Los Angeles.
Law enforcement positively identified the foot based on DNA analysis and notified the family.
Linda Veress, spokesperson for Yellowstone National Park, said no foul play is suspected.
She also said no more information on the case was available Tuesday, including whether the foot was found inside a shoe. A final investigation report is pending within a few weeks.
Meanwhile, a scientist said the heat of the Abyss Pool alone could have been enough to dissolve a body.
The Abyss Pool isn’t known to be particularly basic or acidic, but its extreme head could have destroyed most of the remains, Kenneth Sims told Cowboy State Daily. He’s a professor of isotope geology at the University of Wyoming.
The foot was presumed to be that of Ro as he was last seen in Yellowstone on July 7.
The Wyoming Division of Criminal Investigation announced Ro’s disappearance in September.
Park authorities now believe Ro entered the pool on the morning of July 31. He was described as an Asian male, about 5 feet, 3 inches tall, weighing 135 pounds with black eyes and black hair.
No other body parts have been discovered.
Waters in the Abyss Pool, one of the deepest pools in Yellowstone, are more than 140 degrees. The incident was “unwitnessed,” and the park announced in August that there also was no video footage of it.
Jen Mignard was at West Thumb Geyser Basin on the day authorities found the floating foot.
She told Cowboy State Daily that the law enforcement presence was “massive” and said helicopters and numerous police vehicles were in the area.
“We knew something bad had happened,” Mignard said in August.
“It was such an abnormal sight to see in the park,” she said. “There was a lot of fear and apprehension that something was seriously wrong. It was a dark feeling.”
“Helicopters don’t fly here,” she added. “There were too many coincidences. Something major was happening.”
Park officials have not announced additional circumstances surrounding Ro’s death.
Stephanie Hambrick, magistrate judge for Mammoth Hot Springs Court in Yellowstone, said at a sentencing hearing Nov. 2 that park officials believe someone used a thermal pool to commit suicide, but Hambrick did not name Ro or his case.
“Individuals either voluntarily or sometimes involuntarily wind up in a thermal feature and suffer very, very severe burns and injuries, and sometimes even death,” Hambrick said at the hearing.