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Human remains found in Bella Vista confirmed to belong to missing man

A skull was found over a mile from the same Bella Vista trailhead where Matthew Loftin's vehicle was found after he was reported missing in Sept. 2021.

BELLA VISTA, Ark. — Human remains were found in a wooded area of Bella Vista on Sunday, Oct. 30, a spokesperson with the city said in a statement released on Monday.

Officials confirmed the remains belonged to 46-year-old Matthew Loftin on Dec. 9, who had been missing since Sept. 2021.

On Sept. 20, 2021, Brandy Loftin reported her husband Matthew missing. During the investigation, police found his vehicle that afternoon at the Buckingham Trailhead on the Back 40 Trails in Bella Vista, according to reports.

"After an extensive search of the surrounding areas by members of multiple area law enforcement agencies and canine units, Loftin was not located," Bella Vista officials said after the initial search.

On Sunday, Oct. 30, a skull was found over a mile from the same trailhead where Loftin's vehicle was found in 2021. Cadaver dogs were reportedly brought in and they searched the area on Monday for other bones, clothing or related items.

About 200 yards from the skull, authorities said, clothing was found that "matched the description of what Loftin had been wearing when he was last seen." No other identifying items were recovered.

All of the evidence found on Monday has been turned over to the Benton County Coroner’s Office for further investigation.

Bella Vista Police Chief James Graves said Loftin’s family has been notified and while the identity has not been confirmed, "agencies are working to get that done as soon as possible."

5NEWS will update this article with more information as it becomes available.

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