STEVENSVILLE - Authorities report the human remains found in the Bitterroot National Forest are that of a missing Missoula man.
Ravalli County Sheriff Steve Holton said the human remains found in the Selway Wilderness Monday night have been tentatively identified as Phillip Matthew Stokey of Missoula.
Stokey, 37 years old at the time, was the subject of an intense search and rescue operation in August of 2020 but was never located.
Sheriff Holton stated that a US Forest Service Trail Crew discovered the remains Monday night and notified the Sheriff's Office.
Investigators hiked in Tuesday morning and found the scene approximately five miles from the Bass Creek Trailhead.
After processing the scene and recovering the remains, Sheriff Holton said they are confident in the identity due to the evidence that was recovered.
Sheriff Holton said they will work with the Montana State Crime Lab to confirm the identity and determine the cause and manner of death.
"Our prayers continue to be with the Stokey family. We were happy to bring Phillip home and while we hope this information helps bring a little closure for them, we understand that it is hard news for anyone to hear," Sheriff Holton added in a statement.