Human remains found in Jackson County may be those of missing Decatur man

JACKSON COUNTY, Ala. -- The Jackson County Sheriff's Office confirms human remains were found by hunters late Friday night. Sheriff Chuck Phillips told WHNT the remains are likely those of James Robert Elliott from Decatur.

James Robert Elliott (Decatur Police Department)

Elliott was reported missing in October 2016. Elliott was 72-year-old when he went missing and reportedly suffered from  Alzheimer’s. He was last seen leaving his home in on 11th Avenue NW in Decatur. It was believed that he drove off and could not find his way back home.

In November of 2016, his car was found in Jackson County on a property near Crow Mountain. Crews searched for two days but nothing was found.

In October of 2017, a property owner reported to authorities that they found articles of clothing belonging to Elliott not far from where his vehicle was found. The Jackson County Sheriff’s Office along with the Scottsboro Rescue Squad, the Rosalie Rescue Squad and a Huntsville Police K-9 unit conducted another search of the area, digging and sifting through dirt. Crews searched for seven hours in the area where his pants and wallet were found and only discovered loose change and a pocket knife.

Deer hunters contacted the Jackson County Sheriff's Office after finding bones near the area where Elliot's vehicle was found.

"We went back into the woods that night," recalled Jackson County Sheriff Chuck Phillips. "It's very remote, very hard to get to, very steep. Being wet and rainy we were not able to stay."

There were 12 bones found, including a skull. Authorities are hoping that these bones can be identified back to Elliot. "They were taken to forensics and through dental record, he can be identified," said Sheriff Phillips.

The Jackson County Sheriff's Office conducted several searches involving Elliot and they're hoping these bones are a lead to the end of a case.

"Well, it gives some closure to the family," said Sheriff Phillips. "We've not found anything but articles of clothing and some keys and some change and his vehicle prior to this weekend."

The sheriff's office says they'll take a team to the area again to continue the search.