Cadaver dogs find skull believed to be that of Kelso man

Clark County crews aid in search east of Kelso

By Craig Brown, Columbian metro editor

Published:

Updated: March 25, 2013, 9:22 PM

 

Cadaver dogs and trained searchers from Cowlitz and Clark counties have discovered a skull and clothing that may belong to a Kelso man missing since 2010.

According to the Cowlitz County Sheriff’s Office, the remains may be those of Sam Stefonek, 29, who was reported missing in the Mount Brynion area northeast of Kelso in August 2010. He had quarreled with a girlfriend prior to his disappearance. Only his phone and a few items of clothing were ever found.

The area had been searched a half-dozen times since the man disappeared, but searchers determined to give it another try Saturday. More than 40 people and two trained dogs worked the scene, finding the skull and a partially buried article of clothing, about a mile from where Stefonek was last seen.

The skull, which did not bear any sign of trauma, will be analyzed by the Cowlitz County Medical Examiner to see if it is Stefonek’s.

Searchers on the scene over the weekend included Washougal-based Silver Star Search and Rescue, Clark County Search and Rescue and the Lower Columbia Amateur Radio Members. Cadaver dogs were handled by Wade Boyd and Sharon Ward.