Human remains were found in the California wilderness where British actor Julian Sands went missing over five months ago, authorities said.
Sands, known for his roles in films including “A Room With a View,” was reported missing on Jan. 13 after going hiking in the Mount Baldy area, leading to an extensive search. Poor weather and the risk of avalanches hampered the early hunt for the 65-year-old, with rescuers using helicopters and drones when conditions became too severe for ground searches.
Earlier this week, before the remains were reported, Sands’s family issued its first statement since his disappearance, thanking search teams and coordinators who “have worked tirelessly to find Julian,” the Associated Press reported.
“We continue to hold Julian in our hearts with bright memories of him as a wonderful father, husband, explorer, lover of the natural world and the arts, and as an original and collaborative performer,” the family said.
Since January, authorities had carried out eight searches for Sands, and volunteers had spent more than 500 hours looking for him, the San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Department said earlier this month. Sands is married and has three children, the AP reported.
On June 17, more than 80 volunteers conducted a search for Sands that was once again unsuccessful, the sheriff’s department said.
But even in the warmer weather, large portions of Mount Baldy remain “inaccessible due to extreme alpine conditions,” it said. “Multiple areas include steep terrain and ravines, which still have 10 plus feet of ice and snow.” Mount Baldy has a maximum elevation of 10,000 feet.
Following Sands’s disappearance, authorities warned people against hiking Mount Baldy amid “adverse and extremely dangerous” conditions in the area, including high winds, snow and ice.
At least two hikers died in falls in or around the Mount Baldy area during the four weeks leading up to Jan. 18, the sheriff’s department said.