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Human remains found near North Fork

Human remains found near North Fork

Zach-Pike-MUG1.jpgZach Pike

Article contributed by The Journal Record

NORTH FORK - Authorities say the remains of a Marion County man have been found two years after he was last seen.

Marion County Sheriff Kevin Williams told the Journal Record that local investigators have discovered substantial evidence that human remains found in the North Fork area belong to Zach Pike, who was last seen in May 2018.

According to Williams, human remains were discovered by four individuals riding ATVs on Saturday, April 25, in the woods one mile west of the old North Fork Bridge between Hackleburg and Hamilton. Two of those individuals, who wished not to be identified, traveled to Hamilton later that day to report their discovery to authorities.
Williams said North Fork is a common area for individuals to explore.

Deputies were able to search the area that same day and successfully find human bones off a trail. Williams said they were found beneath a bluff.


A K-9 searches the bluff where authorities say Zach Pike's remains were discovered by a four-wheeling group. [Contributed photo]

Marion County investigators returned the following Monday (April 27) to search the area with the 25th Judicial Circuit District Attorney's Office. Another search was conducted on Monday, May 4, with the help of volunteers with the GTR K-9 Search Team out of Columbus, Miss.

The additional searches resulted in authorities finding more human bones, remains of male clothing, a phone charger wrapped around a walking stick and a cellphone.
District Attorney Investigator Rusty Hulsey was able to scan the phone's SIM card (subscriber identity module) and determine that the phone belonged to an individual Pike had been with the night he disappeared. No other information on the phone is recoverable, Williams said.

The sheriff said authorities are 99% sure the remains belong to Pike, due to the male clothing being found and who the cellphone belonged to.

Pike's family members were contacted later that day (May 4) to be notified, Williams said.

Pike's mother, Mary Gilbert, lives in the Chicago, Ill., area. His grandfather is retired Bear Creek police chief Ed Franks. Williams said Pike has other family in Bear Creek, as well.

Pike and 24-year-old Jessica Hamby are the only reported missing persons in Marion County. Hamby went missing only months before Pike, in January 2018.

web-IMG_0399.jpg web-IMG_0613.jpg
Marion County Sheriff's Chief Deputy Jeff Davis (left) and Marion County Sheriff's Investigator Sgt. Daryl Spencer search for evidence near where Zach Pike's remains are believed to have been found. [Contributed photo] Marion County Sheriff's Chief Deputy Jeff Davis (left)  meets with volunteers with the GTR K-9 Search Team out of Columbus, Miss., on the old North Fork Bridge  [Contributed photo]
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