MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — Investigators say the bones found in a Lakeville park Thursday belong to a man who has been missing since the summer of 2012.
Lakeville Police say remains found in Ritter Farm Park belong to 50-year-old Christopher Marc Bellino, who was last heard from on July 29, 2012.
Capt. Kevin Manias of Lakeville Police says a group of Lakeville High School students who were out doing a field-orienteering exercise with the Minnesota National Guard Thursday first spotted a skull in the woods.
“Arriving officers were led by Minnesota Army National Guard personal to the location of the skull, where officers confirmed that the skeletal skull remains appeared to be human,” Manias said.
Police say Bellino wore a leg brace, but no clothing or other items were found at the scene. Manias says he’s not shocked that it took so long to find the remains in what is a very popular park because they were discovered in a remote area off the trail system.
“There’s extensive wooded areas that are just woods, you know, that you can get to via the trail system, so actually it’s not surprising,” he said.
Bellino was reported missing on Aug. 3, 2012. His car was found 25 days later in the parking lot of the Lakeville Target store, located two miles away from Ritter Farm Park.
Lakeville Police are waiting for results from the Hennepin County Medical Examiner’s Office to determine the cause of death.
The Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension is assisting in the investigation. At this point, no foul play is suspected.
The portion of the park that was closed for the search is now back open.