CCSO: Molalla remains belong to man reported missing in 1979

Crime

Victim reportedly frequented Portland area during trips between Washington and California

Timber crew finds skeletal remains southeast of Molalla on January 22, 2021 (CCSO)

PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — Homicide investigators have identified the skeletal remains found in a wooded area near Molalla in January.

Officials with the Clackamas County Sheriff’s Office said the remains belong to Kenneth Lee Bell, born in 1957. He was identified from personal effects found with the body, and a DNA confirmation is currently underway, according to CCSO.

Bell had been reported missing in 1979 by his mother when he was 22 years old. Investigators believe Bell vanished while traveling from the Bay Area to Washington state to visit family. According to family, Bell worked in the timber industry in the late 1970s, and frequented the Portland area in that time period.

Kenneth Bell (CCSO)
Kenneth Bell (CCSO)

On January 8 of this year, a Weyerhaeuser timber crew came across the remains in a steep ravine off a private logging road. Along with a partial human skull, articles of clothing were found in the area as well including a 9.5 white low-top style canvas athletic shoe and a dark-gray metal ring with a squared red stone.

If you knew Kenneth Lee Bell in the late 1970s, detectives would like to hear from you. You can contact the Sheriff’s Office Tip Line by phone at 503-723-4949 or by using the online email form

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