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Mystery of missing Mauna Kea hiker finally solved

By Nana Ohkawa
Published On: Aug 08 2013 08:31:00 PM HST

The remains of a missing hiker on the Big Island have been identified after 6 long years. The family of a Michigan man finally have an answer after years of waiting.

HILO, Hawaii -

The remains of a hiker who went missing on Mauna Kea six years ago have been identified. Brian Patrick Murphy was supposed to go on an adventurous Mauna Kea hike and come back, but, that was six years ago. Now, police say the human remains found last week in a remote location, nowhere near a marked trail, at about 12,000 feet up the volcano are those of the lost hiker.

"It's a place I would imagine -- very few people would go to because it's way off of any pathway and it's far from the roadway area," said Captain Robert Wagner with the Hawaii Police Department.

In December, the father of two and grandfather of five parked his rental car at the visitor center, checked in wearing shorts and a t-shirt, but changed into warm clothes and took off for his hike.

"When he went up there a storm that came in which included a lot of snow, so that is why I'm assuming ... he didn't make it because a storm came in," said Wagner.

Back in 2007, Fire crews did an intense search for days, searching by air and by foot navigating through snow and lava, but there were no signs of Murphy. Family members flew in from Michigan to do their own searching and investigators continued to do sporadic ones.

Police say after all these years they are relieved they can end the mystery for the family.

"The daughter was very happy that his remains were found," said Wagner.

Police say an off-duty ranger found the remains while exploring the remote region of Mauna Kea with other hikers.

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