Officials with Coconino County Sheriff's office said Wednesday that remains recovered from the area of Brins Mesa area may be those of a man who was reported missing in 2007.
According to a statement released on Wednesday, the remains were discovered by a hiker in the area of Brins Mesa, north of Sedona, on February 28. The hiker, according to the statement, found some human bones and a weathered shoe in a steep draining off the mesa.
The bones, shoe, and some tattered clothing were located by deputies and detectives on March 1. More bones, clothing, and a Glock handgun were located by the Coconino County Search and Rescue Unit on a March 11 search.
According to the statement, detectives were able to verify the serial number of the handgun, and matched that to one that was purchased by a man named Paul Ashley. Ashley, who was 38 at the time of his disappearance, reportedly purchased the handgun shortly before he went missing.
Ashley was reported missing by his brother in October 2007. According to the statement, Sedona Police learned that Ashley had sent personal property to his brother, along with a note that states he was leaving. A similar note, according to the statement, was also left for Ashley's landlord.
Ashley, according to the statement, was last seen riding a bicycle away from his home. Searches by the Yavapai County Sheriff's Office in the Brins Mesa Trail area on October 25 and November 4 did not locate Ashley, nor did it locate the bicycle Ashley was last seen riding.
The remains, according to the statement, were taken to the Coconino County Medical Examiner's Office for examination. A cause of death, as well as positive identification of the remains, are still pending.