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Camper found dead on Mt. Elden identified 5 years later



The man’s remains were discovered in the fall of 2019 and went unidentified for years. Advanced genetic testing revealed who the man was.

FLAGSTAFF, Ariz. — Nearly five years ago, a hiker in the woods around the base of Mt. Elden came across the skeletal remains of an unknown man.

That discovery would spark an investigation spanning multiple states and several years. Only recently did advanced genetic testing help reveal the dead man’s identity and give his family closure.

While the Coconino County Sheriff’s Office was initially unable to identify the remains, in August 2023, the office contracted Intermountain Forensics of Salt Lake City for genealogical testing. It wasn’t long before investigators developed a DNA profile for the remains and identified a possible family line.

By February of the next year, they determined that this man was likely Mark Dunne — a Phoenix resident who had gone missing back in March of 2017.

When investigators with the University of North Texas compared his DNA to that of living family members, they found they had a match.

It’s unknown when Dunne arrived in Flagstaff, but the scene where his body was found suggested that he’d been camping in the area for some time, CCSO reported. Dunne was reported missing to Phoenix police after not contacting his family for a prolonged time.

Dunne’s cause of death was never determined.

“The Coconino County Sheriff’s Office offers its deepest condolences to Mr. Dunne’s family, who have requested privacy at this time,” a spokesman with the office said.

CCSO thanked Intermountain Forensics, the Coconino County Office of the Medical Examiner, Phoenix Police Department and the University of North Texas Center for Human Identification for their help in closing the case.

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