Skeletal remains found by a hiker in Moraga earlier this year have been confirmed as belonging to a man who was reported missing nearly 20 years ago, police said Tuesday.
The remains were identified as Richard Allen Saimons, after a DNA sample from the remains was analyzed by the California Department of Justice DNA Laboratory in Richmond.
Saimons, a Lafayette resident, was reported missing on Aug. 2, 1998, after he left his home and never returned. He was 37 years old at the time.
Moraga police Chief Jon King said when the discovery was made March 16, detectives first thought of the two-decade-old case.
"That was a case we were looking at from the very beginning," King said. "(Saimons) was at home and decided he needed to go for a walk and left his home, which is actually within a mile of where he was found."
An autopsy conducted on Saimons' remains was unable to determine a cause of death, however, a forensic pathologist did not find any signs of foul play, according to police.
"He may have become overcome by the heat or had a medical condition; we don’t really know at this point," King said.
The skeletal human remains were found in a secluded area between Rheem Boulevard and South Lucille Lane. Police said at the time that the remains appeared to have been in the area for some time.
The hiker said he had been in the area, which is accessible only on foot or by a 4-wheel drive vehicle, when he found the bones near a creek.
After officers accompanied the hiker to the location, crime scene technicians, along with search and rescue personnel equipped with dogs and metal detectors, recovered the bones and also searched the area, police said.
The remains were then taken to the Contra Costa County coroner's bureau, according to police.
A person inside the Saimons home had no comment Tuesday night.
"I hope that we’re able to bring them some closure, so they can move forward also," King said.