Hiker solves missing person’s case after finding human bone with metal surgical plate attached: Cops say it’s from mentally-ill man, 55, who vanished in 2013
- A long-unsolved missing persons case was cracked after three separate hikers found bones scattered across a nearby mountainside
- Christopher Cash, 55, was reported missing on August 1, 2013 – he suffered from paranoid schizophrenia, and police said he had not been taking his medication
- The discovery of his remains was announced last Sunday, and one of the hikers took to TikTok with a video of the bone he found
- Tad Thornton initially thought it was the bone of a pet that had undergone surgery, due to the metal plate affixed to its joint
- But that plate was integral in tying the bone to Cash, who had the same type of hardware installed in 2011, a medical examiner said
- Cops say the bones were scattered by animals, and have been unable to offer a possible cause of death
Bones scattered across a Nevada mountainside, discovered by three different hikers over a three-year span, were identified last Sunday as the remains of a 55-year-old man suffering from paranoid schizophrenia who had been missing since 2013.
One of the hikers, Tad Thornton, took to TikTok after the Carson City Police Department announced that the remains of 55-year-old Christopher Cash had been identified last Sunday.
When Thornton and his dogs initially happened upon a bone with metal hardware affixed to its joint on November 23 of last year, he thought it was ‘someone’s pet’s bone that had some surgery done to it.’
In his Friday video, Thornton detailed his discovered of the human bone on November 23, 2020 (pictured)
Christopher Cash, 55, (pictured left) was reported missing on August 1, 2013. He suffered from paranoid schizophrenia, and police said at the time that he had not been taking his medication. Tad Thornton (right) took to TikTok on Friday when he realized his 2020 discovery led to the solving of the Carson City man’s disappearance
But in his Friday video, Thornton said he found out later that ‘it [was] actual human bone, and this bone helped solved a missing persons case,’ and the metal plate attached to the bone Thornton found was a crucial element.
Cash was reported missing on August 1 of 2013. He was a regular fixture in Carson City, often seen walking its streets and ordering his daily coffee at Denny’s.
The city’s police said he had stopped taking his medication, and were unable to locate him although they had investigated a number of leads, according to the Reno Gazette Journal.
It is unclear how he died, and his bones are believed to have been scattered by animals afterwards.
On January 29 of 2019, an unnamed hiker made a morbid discovery in a remote area above Centennial Park: a human skull. A medical examiner found no signs of trauma, and investigators found no other bones in the immediate area.
On February 27 this year, after Thornton made his grim discovery in 2020, a third hiker, who has not been identified, found bones in a steep ravine about two miles west of the spot where the skull was found.
When Thornton and his dogs initially happened upon a bone with metal hardware affixed to its joint on November 23 of last year, he thought it was ‘someone’s pet’s bone that had some surgery done to it’
After the Washoe County Regional Medical Examiner’s Officer said that the metal plate (pictured) was the same type that Cash was outfitted with in 2011, his sibling supplied some of their DNA for testing, which solidified the identification
Detectives, the Carson City Search and Rescue Unit and a human remains detection K9 found more bones in the ravine and in other locations between the two search locations – officials guessed that animals had scattered the remains.
After the Washoe County Regional Medical Examiner’s Officer said that the metal plate was the same type that Cash was outfitted with in 2011, his sibling supplied some of their DNA for testing, which solidified the identification.
‘Now his family has had a bit closure and I’m happy to have been the one to help,’ Thornton said in his video.
Police said there were no indications of foul play, although he did not own a vehicle and they were unable to discern how he got to the remote mountainside on the north side of the city where his remains were found.