http://www.doenetwork.org/cases/2138dmnm.html http://www.dchieftain.com/news/73866-08-29-07.html Wednesday, August 29, 2007 Bones may belong to missing man New Mexico Tech student found wallet while mountain biking Audry Olmsted El Defensor Chieftain Managing Editor, email@example.com Police believe they have brought closure to a 10-year-old mystery surrounding a Socorro man, who disappeared in November 1997, with the discovery of human remains near Strawberry Peak. Based on evidence at the scene, the remains are believed to belong to Brian Darling, who was 28 years old when he was reported missing. Darling's wallet was discovered by a New Mexico Tech student while she was biking in the area over the weekend. Christina Forbes, 23, who has started studies for her master's degree in geology, said she started her bike ride about 11:30 a.m. Sunday. "I missed the trail, somehow," she said, and ended up following an arroyo when she came across some mesquite bush. "The wallet was right around the mesquite bush," she said. Forbes took a way point on her Global Positioning System unit to mark the spot where she found the wallet, then made her way back to a security checkpoint at Tech, where she turned the wallet in to authorities. The next day, she led authorities back to the exact spot where she found the wallet, using her GPS unit. Chief Deputy, Preciliano "Shorty" Vaiza, with the Sheriff's Department, said officers found partial remains at the scene, southeast of Strawberry Peak, as well as a tattered T-shirt and a pair of shoes. He said a pistol was also found at the scene. Socorro Police Chief Lawrence Romero said the weapon was found in the open position and that a round had been fired, but he said he did not know at what the gun was fired. 'There's' just a lot of unanswered questions that we'll never know," Vaiza said. Darling had purchased a pistol, just days before he disappeared. "The wallet appeared to have been out there for years," Romero said. Items in the wallet were still legible. Vaiza said this discovery could bring closure to Darling's family as well as law enforcement officials, who have been looking for Darling since he disappeared. Vaiza himself was a lieutenant with the Socorro Police Department at the time Darling went missing, and was one of the first officers to investigate the case. "This one really bothered me for years," Vaiza said. The chief deputy added that he used to go out to the area, around where the remains were found, and imagined he would see Darling hiking toward him. Darling was known to go hiking frequently. "It just seemed like he disappeared off the face of the earth," Romero said. "This is good closure for everyone. It really is," Vaiza said. Romero added that they were lucky to find the remains when they did. Because of recent heavy rains, the evidence could have all been washed away. Romero said the remains have been handed over to the Office of the Medical Investigator. It could take months before they get any results back. Romero said he has been in contact with Darling's parents, Carol and Charles Darling, and said they had been waiting for this call from law enforcement for 10 years. Forbes said it was pure luck that she found the wallet, and added that if she had walked around the mesquite bush on the left-hand side, rather than the right, she probably would have never seen it. "It's really bewildering," she said.