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Previous story SKELETAL REMAINS IDENTIFIED - Timber crew finds skeletal remains southeast of Molalla; homicide investigation launched Next story
  Skeletal remains found near Molalla - Homicide investigation underway   Timber crew finds skeletal remains southeast of Molalla  


Story by The Oregon Herald Staff
Published on Tuesday April 13, 2021 - 10:45 AM
 
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PORTLAND, Oregon - A homicide investigation has been launched after skeletal remains were found in a wilderness area southeast of Molalla earlier this month.

A Weyerhaeuser timber crew came across the remains — including a partial human skull — in a steep ravine off a private logging road while planting trees on Jan. 8. Authorities said the remains predate the wildfires that swept through that area in September.

According to the Clackamas County Sheriff's Office, articles of clothing were found in the area as well, signalling that the remains may have been there for some time. Among the items found were a size 9.5 white low-top style canvas athletic shoe and a dark-grey metal ring with a squared red stone.

Deputies, detectives and forensic specialists responded to the scene, as did the Clackamas County Medical Examiner's Office and Oregon State Police Crime Scene Investigators (CSI). Clackamas County Search and Rescue (CSAR) volunteers also responded due to the steep terrain.

Detectives are investigating the case as a homicide. The remains are now with Dr Nici Vance, the OSP State Forensic Anthropologist. They identified the skeletal human remains found in January. in a wilderness area southeast of Molalla.

The human remains are those of Kenneth Lee Bell, born in 1957, formerly of Contra Costa County. He was identified from personal effects found with the body, and a DNA confirmation is currently underway.

Kenneth Bell's mother (now deceased) had reported her son missing in 1979 when he would have been 22 years old. He appears to have disappeared while travelling from the Bay Area to Washington State to visit family.

Mr Bell worked in the timber industry in the late 1970s and frequented the Portland area in that time period.

A Weyerhaeuser timber crew came across the remains — including a partial human skull — in a steep ravine off a private logging road while planting trees on Jan. 8. Authorities said the remains predate the wildfires that swept through that area in September.

According to the Clackamas County Sheriff's Office, articles of clothing were found in the area as well, signalling that the remains may have been there for some time. Among the items found were a size 9.5 white low-top style canvas athletic shoe and a dark-grey metal ring with a squared red stone.

Deputies, detectives and forensic specialists responded to the scene, as did the Clackamas County Medical Examiner's Office and Oregon State Police Crime Scene Investigators (CSI). Clackamas County Search and Rescue (CSAR) volunteers also responded due to the steep terrain.

Detectives are investigating the case as a homicide. The remains are now with Dr Nici Vance, the OSP State Forensic Anthropologist.