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Remains conclusively shown to be Fossett’s

Wagner is a Times staff writer.

Madera County officials announced Monday that the DNA of two bones discovered last week in a remote part of the Sierra Nevada matched that of missing adventurer Steve Fossett.

County officials said they had received test results from a California Department of Justice forensics lab in Richmond, Calif., that conclusively showed that the bones found Oct. 29 belonged to Fossett, who vanished over a year ago.

The bones were discovered by sheriff’s deputies and volunteers who scoured the backcountry last week in what local authorities said was their last attempt to find additional clues to Fossett’s disappearance before winter snow arrived. Authorities declined to say what bones were found.

In addition to the bones, deputies and volunteers found credit cards, a pair of tennis shoes and Fossett’s Illinois state driver’s license over several hours of searching in rugged terrain about half a mile from his plane crash site.

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Fossett, 63, was known for his daring, record-setting adventures. The millionaire vanished on a solo pleasure flight from a Nevada ranch in September 2007.

In late September, Preston Morrow, 43, who works at a sporting goods store in Mammoth Lakes, Calif., stumbled across several identification cards and 10 $100 bills while hiking with his dog in Red’s Meadow at about 9,700 feet.

Several days later, searchers discovered the wreckage of the Bellanca Citabria Super Decathlon that Fossett had been piloting about a quarter of a mile away.

Times staff writer Jennifer Oldham contributed to this report.

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james.wagner@latimes.com


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