Hiker solves 2013 missing person case after finding human bone with metal surgical plate attached

Hiker solves missing person case after finding human bone with metal surgical plate attached: Police later found it belonged to a mentally ill man, 55, who disappeared in 2013

  • A long-unsolved missing persons case was cracked after three separate hikers found bones scattered on a nearby mountainside
  • Christopher Cash, 55, was reported missing on August 1, 2013 – he suffered from paranoid schizophrenia and police said he hadn’t taken his medication
  • The discovery of his remains was announced last Sunday and one of the walkers took to TikTok with a video of the bone he found
  • Tad Thornton initially thought it was the bone of a pet that had undergone surgery, due to the metal plate attached to the joint
  • But that plate was integral to binding the bone to Cash, who had the same type of hardware installed in 2011, a medical researcher said.
  • Police say the bones were scattered by animals and have not been able to indicate a possible cause of death


Bones scattered across a mountainside in Nevada, discovered by three different hikers over a three-year period, were identified last Sunday as the remains of a 55-year-old man suffering from paranoid schizophrenia who had been missing since 2013.

One of the walkers, Tad Thornton, went to TikTok after the Carson City Police Department announced that the remains of 55-year-old Christopher Cash had been identified last Sunday.

When Thornton and his dogs came across a bone with metal hardware attached to the joint on Nov. 23 last year, he thought it was “the bone of someone’s pet that had undergone surgery.”

In his Friday video, Thornton describes his discovery of the human bone on November 23, 2020 (pictured)

Christopher Cash, 55, (pictured) was reported missing on August 1, 2013.  He suffered from paranoid schizophrenia and police said at the time that he had not taken his medication.

Tad Thornton (pictured) took to TikTok on Friday when he learned that the bone he found has prompted investigators to crack the long-unsolved disappearance of the Carson City man

Christopher Cash, 55, (pictured left) was reported missing on August 1, 2013. He suffered from paranoid schizophrenia and police said at the time that he had not taken his medication. Tad Thornton (right) took to TikTok on Friday when he realized his 2020 discovery led to solving the Carson City man’s disappearance

But in his video from Friday, Thornton said he later found out that “it” [was] real human bone, and this bone helped solve a missing person,” and the metal plate attached to the bone that Thornton found was a critical element.

On August 1, 2013, cash was reported missing. He was a fixture in Carson City, often seeing him walking the streets ordering his daily coffee from Denny’s.

City police said he had stopped taking his medication and they were unable to locate him, although they had investigated a number of clues, according to police. Reno Gazette Journal.

It is unclear how he died, and his bones are believed to have been scattered by animals afterward.

On January 29, 2019, an unnamed hiker made a morbid discovery in a remote area above Centennial Park: a human skull. A coroner found no signs of trauma and investigators found no other bones in the immediate area.

On February 27 this year, after Thornton made his grim discovery in 2020, a third hiker, who has not been identified, found bones in a steep ravine about two miles west of where the skull was found.

When Thornton and his dogs came across a bone with metal hardware attached to the joint on Nov. 23 last year, he thought it was

When Thornton and his dogs came across a bone with metal hardware attached to the joint on Nov. 23 last year, he thought it was “someone’s bone that had undergone surgery.”

After the Washoe County Regional Medical Examiner's Officer said the metal plate (pictured) was the same type that Cash was fitted with in 2011, his sibling provided some of their DNA for testing, which solidified the identification.

After the Washoe County Regional Medical Examiner’s Officer said the metal plate (pictured) was the same type that Cash was fitted with in 2011, his sibling provided some of their DNA for testing, which solidified the identification.

Detectives, the Carson City Search and Rescue Unit and a human remains detection K9 found more bones in the ravine and in other locations between the two search sites — officials suspected that animals had scattered the remains.

After the Washoe County Regional Medical Examiner’s Officer said the metal plate was the same type that Cash was fitted with in 2011, his sibling provided some of their DNA for testing, which solidified the identification.

“Now his family is a bit closed off and I’m glad I’ve been the one to help,” Thornton said in his video.

Police said there was no indication of malicious intent, although he did not own a vehicle and they could not make out how he got to the remote mountainside on the north side of town where his remains were found.

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