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Human remains found where Guelph, Ont. man went missing in 2018

Photo of Paul Miller who went missing in Joshua Tree National Park in California July 2018.
Photo of Paul Miller who went missing in Joshua Tree National Park in California July 2018. Handout

Human remains have been found in California’s Joshua Tree National Park near where a Guelph, Ont. man went missing in 2018.

Paul Miller disappeared in the 49 Palms Oasis area of the park in July 2018 while on vacation with his wife, Stephanie.

READ MORE: Family marks one year since disappearance of Guelph man in California park

In a statement posted to the US National Park Service’s website, officials said they were contacted by an agency analyzing photographs of the area and may have found human remains.

Park rangers hiked to that area on Friday where they found the remains and personal belongings, but no identification.

Click to play video 'Family anxious about Guelph, Ont. man missing in California' Family anxious about Guelph, Ont. man missing in California
Family anxious about Guelph, Ont. man missing in California – Aug 10, 2018

They described the area as remote, rocky, steep and away from the hiking trails.

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Officials said the remains appear to have been there for some time but there was no indication of foul play.

Park officials have been in contact with Miller’s family.

“We did send dental records down this morning,” Miller’s sister Dawne Robinson said in a phone interview on Monday. “They will be trying to match those dental records to the remains they now have.”

She said confirmation could take days or even weeks because the coroner’s office is short-staffed over the holidays.

READ MORE: Guelph man missing in California’s Joshua Tree National Park

Even without knowing for sure, Robinson said her gut is telling her those remains belong to her brother.

She said there is a sense of sadness but also relief.

“It’s been a long year-and-a-half,” Robinson said. “Just not knowing what happened to Paul has been really, really difficult.”

Robinson said a drone team had volunteered to help in the search and spotted the remains in one of the thousands of photos taken during a three-day scan of the desert area.