PRINEVILLE, Ore. - Human remains found last week by a hiker on a plateau just south of Prineville have been tentatively identified as those of a Prineville man who vanished late last summer, prompting extensive searches of the area, police said Tuesday.
A hiker reported finding the remains on March 4 at a campsite on a remote part of the plateau, and authorities said at the time they appeared to have been there for several months.
The remains have now been tentatively identified as those of Mackenzie Everett Wright, 56, said police Capt. Michael Boyd, but officers are still awaiting a positive ID from the state Medical Examiner's Office.
Wright was reported missing from his Prineville home last Aug. 31. Police said he last had been heard from several weeks earlier and told friends he might go "gold mining," but did not offer details.
Extensive searches in rural areas around Prineville and Crook County were unsuccessful. Wright's family members have been notified, Boyd said.
An autopsy was conducted and found the cause of death was a single, self-inflicted gunshot wound.
NewsChannel 21's general policy is not to report on suicides, with some exceptions, such as an incident tied to a public search, as in this case.