Remains likely missing Tahoe woman, family member says
October 10, 2011
STEVENSON, Wash. (AP) – Searchers found skeletal remains and jewelry in an area of Gifford Pinchot National Forest where a California woman was last seen during a peace rally last summer, authorities said Monday.
Several extensive searches of the area have been made for any sign of Marie Hanson, a 54-year-old South Lake Tahoe, Calif., woman whose family reported her missing July 9.
The remains were found about 4 p.m. Sunday, said Dave Cox, undersheriff for the Skamania County Sheriff’s Office.
Nancy Enterline, whose son is married to Hanson’s daughter, said the remains were found within a half mile from where Hanson was camped.
She said family members believe the remains are Hanson’s based on the identification of jewelry found Sunday.
Photos from June show Hanson wearing two rings that were found with the remains, Enterline said.
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Searchers were seeking any other evidence that might link the remains and jewelry to Hanson, the Skamania County Sheriff’s Office said.
“We are hopeful but not jumping to any conclusions at this point,” Cox said in a statement.
Identification of the remains and a determination of the cause of death will not be made until forensic testing is complete, Cox said. The process could take several weeks.
Hanson made a spur-of-the-moment decision to travel with her neighbors to the annual gathering of the Rainbow Family of Living Light. Borne from the 1960s counterculture movement, Rainbow Family is a loose gathering of peace activists who come together each July in a national forest. The weeklong event culminates July 4 with a circle to pray for world peace.
This year, the 40th annual gathering was attended by an estimated 10,000 to 20,000 people.
Hanson, a grandmother of two who cares for her disabled husband, had never before attended the event. Her family reported her missing after neighbors called and said they had not seen her for days.
All of her belongings were left in her tent, including her purse, medicine for pain following back surgery, a handcrafted doll for her granddaughter and a trinket for her grandson. She had traded for those items as gifts.
– Tahoe Daily Tribune reporter Adam Jensen contributed to this story.