Authorities believe they've found the remains of Noah Pippin, an Iraq War veteran and former member of the Los Angeles Police Department who went missing in the Bob Marshall Wilderness in September 2010. News broke early today that a search crew of Lewis and Clark County sheriff's personnel and border patrol agents discovered human remains at the head of Burnt Creek, near the Chinese Wall, on Friday and that circumstantial evidence indicates they belong to Pippin. Pippin's parents, Mike and Rosalie, and his younger brother Caleb have been in Montana for about a week searching for leads and meeting with officials.
Pippin went missing after a visit to his family's home in Lake Ann, Michigan, in late summer 2010. He was due back in California for training with a National Guard unit, but never showed up. After repeated inquiries with law enforcement, his parents discovered that Pippin had driven his rental car to the Kalispell area, then proceeded on foot along Hungry Horse Reservoir and into the Bob. Several groups encountered Pippin on his trek over the Continental Divide Trail. The last, a family from Great Falls, said Pippin had intended to leave the trail and bushwhack along the Chinese Wall south to White River Pass. The mystery of his disappearance and his parents' unending resolve to find their son were the subject of an Indy cover story and, later, an episode of the Discovery Channel program "Disappeared" this spring.
Pippin was described as a quiet, reserved man with a deep interest in philosophy. He saw action during the Iraq War, and was injured during his third and final tour when an SUV blew up next to his Humvee in Fallujah. Observers on the trail during his Montana trek said Pippin seemed ill-prepared for such a long journey. He took little more than a poncho, a plastic water jug, a day pack and a .38 pistol. Pippin was 30 when he went missing.
A search crew last fall failed to uncover any clues as to Pippin's whereabouts before inclement weather set in. They did, however, manage to rescue a diabetic man whose insulin pump had malfunctioned. The man, it turned out, was also from Michigan.