Remains found in Carbon County Thought to be Those of Missing Thermopolis Veteran

Humans remains found by shed antler hunters near the Pedro Mountains are likely those of missing Thermopolis man, John Hammond.

Jen Kocher

May 25, 20233 min read

Missing Thermopolis man
(Cowboy State Daily Staff)

Humans remains found by shed antler hunters near the Pedro Mountains are likely those of a missing Thermopolis man, authorities say.

John Hammond, then 65, has been missing since last November, and the remains are presumed by the Carbon County Sheriff’s Office to belong to him.

The Carbon County Coroner’s Office is currently making arrangements to have the bones tested for DNA to make an absolute determination, according to the Carbon County Sheriff’s Office.

Hammond’s sister, Georgeanne Hammond, expressed her gratitude on Thursday to the men who found the remains as well as law enforcement who searched and investigated for the past several months, including backcountry searches by the Carbon County Search and Rescue and helicopter and drone searches, as they wait for the DNA results.

“There are special law enforcement and friends that have gone beyond the norm to both look for John and help with balancing the effects of his disappearance,” Georgeanne told Cowboy State Daily on Thursday.

She also said that the location in which the remains were discovered is consistent with his disappearance.

Mystery Surrounding His Disappearance

Hammond, a Thermopolis resident, had been on an overnight fishing and camping trip with his long-time friend at the Miracle Mile, outside Casper, when he was last seen. The details of what happened that night are murky, Georgeanne said in an earlier interview with Cowboy State Daily, but the friend told her that Hammond had likely walked off or gotten lost in the shuffle.

The friend told Georgeanne that there had been other people at the site as well who had driven in a separate vehicle and both thought John had gotten into the other car when they drove from the river to their campsite. When they went back to search for him, he was nowhere to be found.

She described her brother as being “generous almost to a fault.”

“If you needed anything,” Georgeanne said in an earlier interview. “John was your guy.”

She described her brother as a prolific reader and a gifted linguist. As a student at Hot Spring County High School, he spoke four languages and was so talented that the U.S. Air Force recruited him in 1974 and put him through language school. He later became fluent in Russian and served during the Vietnam War. 

Once out of the service, Hammond came home to Thermopolis where he worked odd jobs, mostly to support his love of books and classic rock music. He was an encyclopedia on both and often hung out at libraries.

Hammond's case is not being considered as a homicide, according to Carbon County Sheriff Alex Bakken. 

"At this time, it is solely a missing persons case," Bakken said. "There is currently no evidence to suggest foul play."

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Jen Kocher

Features, Investigative Reporter