Discovered skull confirmed to be that of Kelso man

By Patty Hastings, Columbian Social Services, Demographics, Faith



Officials positively identified a skull discovered March 23 in a wooded area of Cowlitz County as Samuel Jack Stefonek.

The 29-year-old Kelso man was reported missing in the Mount Brynion area northeast of Kelso in 2010. He had argued with a girlfriend before he disappeared. Only his phone and a few items were ever found during a half-dozen searches of the area.

More than 40 people and two trained cadaver dogs decided to give it another try March 23, finding the skull and a partially buried article of clothing about a mile from where Stefonek was last seen.

An examination of the skull showed no signs of trauma, according to a news release from the Cowlitz County Coroner’s Office. The office collaborated with the Washington State Patrol Missing and Unidentified Persons Unit’s Forensic Dental Department to establish the identity through dental comparisons.

The manner and cause of the death are still unknown.