A body discovered in thick brush in Ramona earlier this week has been officially identified as a local resident missing since June 16, the San Diego County Medical Examiner’s Office confirmed.
The decomposed body of Carl Salayer, 67, was found Wednesday in the 18400 block of Chablis Road, just a half-mile away from his home.
Area residents reported smelling a foul odor wafting from a heavily vegetated field and when deputies arrived on scene, they discovered Salayer’s remains.
The San Diego County Medical Examiner’s Office said an autopsy has been completed, but Salayer’s cause of death has not yet been released pending further testing. His family has been notified.
Sheriff’s officials said there were no signs of foul play.
Salayer had been missing for 10 days and was last seen at his home on Handlebar Road. The San Diego County Sheriff’s Department launched an expansive search for the missing man involving hundreds of search volunteers that spanned much of the Ramona area.
Salayer suffered from Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s disease and dementia. His medical conditions required medication, thus this became a major concern for both his family and officials during the search. Officials feared Salayer was afraid, disoriented and possibly hiding.
His wife of 48 years stressed the importance of getting medication to her husband.
During the height of the search on June 21, Jan Caldwell of the San Diego County Sheriff’s Department said crews were hoping for the best but expecting the worst.
Caldwell said that after several days without medication, combined with hot days and brisk nights, the search for Salayer had become less of a rescue mission and more of a search for his body.
On Wednesday, Salayer’s family said the discovery, though disheartening, had brought them much-needed peace of mind.
"I love my uncle. If it is his body it would bring needed closure to family," Taylor Ryan, Salayer’s nephew, told NBC 7.
“Definitely, my family is grieving. For me it’s a sense of relief they found someone that could be my uncle. We wish him the best now. He’s in heaven,” he added.