Human remains have been found in the area of the San Gabriel mountains where British actor Julian Sands went missing more than five months ago while on a hike.
The San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Department said civilian hikers had contacted authorities on Saturday morning after finding the remains in the Mount Baldy area.
The finding comes a week after the search for the 65-year-old actor resumed on 17 June. Efforts to find the actor slowed around mid-February after rescue teams were repeatedly hampered by adverse weather conditions.
The remains have been transported to the coroner’s office for identification, the department said.
The identification process is expected to take about a week, said the police department.
Earlier last week, his family released a statement saying they continued to keep him “in our hearts with bright memories”.
“We are deeply grateful to the search teams and co-ordinators who have worked tirelessly to find Julian,” said a family statement, issued on Wednesday by the sheriff’s department.
“We continue to hold Julian in our hearts with bright memories of him as a wonderful father, husband, explorer, lover of the natural world and the arts, and as an original and collaborative performer.”
Sands, best known for his breakout role in the 1985 film A Room With a View, failed to return from a hike in the Mount Baldy area of the southern Californian mountains on 13 January.
A longtime avid hiker and mountaineer, he had set out for a hike on the massive mountain more than 10,000ft high, east of Los Angeles, and that was pounded by severe storms during winter.
Authorities said while warmer weather made the latest search possible, parts of the mountain remain inaccessible due to dangerous conditions.
Since Sands’ disappearance, the sheriff’s department has conducted eight searches and expended more than 500 hours of combined search time.
The actor’s family previously praised the “heroic” efforts of Californian authorities involved in the searches, and were “deeply touched” by the support they had received.
His brother, Nick Sands, told the Craven Herald in late January: “He has not yet been declared missing, presumed dead, but I know in my heart that he has gone.”
A spokesperson for the sheriff’s department earlier said its goal was “to bring closure” to Sands’ family.
Anyone with additional information about Sands is asked to call Detective B Meelker on +1 (909) 356-6710.
Additional reporting by The Associated Press
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