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Sedona, AZ- The Coconino County Sheriff’s Office and Search and Rescue Unit has recovered the remains of a man they believe was reported missing out of Sedona in 2007.
February 28, 2017 a hiker in the area of Brins Mesa north of Sedona found some human bones and a weathered shoe in a steep drainage off the mesa. The hike reported the find to the Sheriff’s Office.
March 1, 2017 Sheriff’s deputies and detectives hiked into the drainage and located the human bones, the shoe and some tattered clothing.
Detectives contacted surrounding police agencies and learned that the Sedona Police Department had taken a report in October 2007. At that time 38 year old Sedona resident Paul Ashley was reported missing by his brother. Sedona Police learned that Ashley had sent personal property to his brother with a note stating he was leaving, but did not express any other intentions. Ashley left a similar note with his landlord. Ashley was last seen riding a bicycle away from his home.
During their investigation, Sedona Police received information about a bicycle locked to a tree and possibly abandoned off the Brins Mesa Trail. The bicycle was never located and presumed to have been taken, but Sedona Police and the Yavapai County Sheriff’s Office believed the bike may have been Ahsley’s. Sedona Police later learned that Ashley had purchased a handgun from a gun dealer in Flagstaff just prior to his disappearance.
The Yavapai County Sheriff’s Office Search and Rescue Unit conducted a search in the area on October 25, 2007 and again on November 4, 2007 but did not locate Ashley or the bicycle. Police were never able to authenticate if the bicycle was Ashley’s. No new information was found indicating where Ashely had gone.
The Coconino County Search and Rescue Unit conducted a search in the drainage on Saturday March 11, 2017 and located more bones, clothing and a Glock handgun a short distance down the drainage from where the first bones were found. Detectives were able to verify the serial number of the handgun matched that of the one Ashley purchased shortly before his disappearance.
The remains were taken to the Coconino County Medical Examiner’s Office for examination. The cause and manner of death are pending and positive identification of the remains are still being investigated.