Washakie County cattle ranchers on Tuesday found the skull and other remains of an Idaho man who went missing in 2015, authorities say.
They have since identified the man as Patrick Michael Combs, who was 38 when he vanished in 2015.
A pilot spotted Combs’ Mazda pickup truck halfway between Worland and Ten Sleep on May 25, 2017, nearly two years after he vanished, according to news reports. This sparked a 5-mile drone search of the area and a field search — with no results.
Combs’ sister Dani Combs told Cowboy State Daily that she’s both saddened and relieved now that her brother’s remains has been found.
She extended her family’s gratitude to the Washakie County community.
“We are relieved and saddened to have found him and we thank the individuals who helped search for him over the years, and the young men who ultimately found him,” said Dani Combs in a Wednesday message to Cowboy State Daily. “He was a generous and hardworking man who raised two children with his wife, Calynn.”
Cattle ranchers found a human skull first, off the Blue Bank Road between Worland and Ten Sleep, says a Wednesday press release from Washakie County Sheriff Austin Brookwell.
They called Brookwell, who met them at the scene with other personnel and led them to the skull.
Sheriff’s personnel started documenting the scene, and soon found “a large number of human bones all in one area,” a few yards from the skull, the statement says.
The cattle ranchers and one of their family members helped deputies find as many bones as possible. One of the civilians found Combs’ wallet close to the large bone cluster.
A Bureau of Land Management ranger and Washakie County Coroner Jeff Lapp came near the scene.
Brookwell asked the civilians to help guide other personnel to the remote area.
“The three individuals again volunteered their time and their UTVs to assist in getting the extra personnel into the location,” wrote Brookwell.
Six Years’ Search
Lapp took custody of the remains.
The bones were 2.1 miles away from where the pilot found Combs’ truck abandoned in 2017, says the statement. Former Sheriff Steve Rackness told Northern Wyoming News at the time that the truck seemed to have been abandoned “for some time.”
Rackness said he wasn’t sure why Combs was in Wyoming.
Combs had gotten a tattoo that read, “If you find me alone leave me alone, if you find me dead call (telephone number),” the outlet also reported in 2017.
The phone number was for Combs’ and his wife’s apiary.
Over the years, people and cadaver dog teams searched the area but never found Combs, says Brookwell’s Wednesday statement.
“No foul play is expected to be the reason for his death,” Brookwell wrote.
He thanked the two workers who found the remains and the family member who also helped law enforcement.
“We also appreciate everyone who has assisted us through the years of trying to locate Mr. Combs,” wrote Brookwell. “To the family of Patrick, we are sorry for your loss.”