Investigators have identified human remains found in Lewis County last month as a Pierce County man who’s been missing since December 1985.
A hiker found a partial human skull in a wooded area near Mineral on March 26.
A forensic pathologist used dental records to determine the remains were Michael Lloyd Riemer, who disappeared along with his girlfriend in 1985, said Stacy Brown, chief deputy of the Lewis County Sheriff’s Office.
Riemer and Diana Robertson were trappers. One day in December 1985, they took their 2-year-old daughter, Crystal Louise, and went to the Nisqually River-area to check a fur-trapping line and find a Christmas tree. They were supposed to return to the Puyallup area by that evening but didn’t.
Crystal was found that afternoon wandering around by herself at a K-Mart in Spanaway. She was not hurt.
The remains of Robertson, 21, were found in February 1986 on an abandoned logging road north of Mineral. She’d been stabbed multiple times and her death ruled a homicide. Investigators found Riemer’s truck nearby.
That same year, Search and Rescue crews conducted several missions to try to find Riemer, who was 36 at the time, the Sheriff’s Office reported. They looked in the same area where his skull was found last month, Brown said.
The case was featured on the television show “Unsolved Mysteries” in 1989. It generated several tips about Riemer’s whereabouts, the Sheriff’s Office reported.
“Riemer was a person of interest in the death of Robertson as he had not been located after Robertson’s body was found and his whereabouts were still unknown,” the Sheriff’s Office reported.
His skull was found within a mile of where Robertson’s remains had been located.
It’s not known how long Riemer has been dead or his cause of death, Brown said.
“We don’t know what happened,” Brown said. “The fact that we found him lets us know he’s not out there running around but it doesn’t necessarily change what we have to work with to figure out what happened.”
The Pierce County Sheriff’s Office’s cold-case detective has been notified of the discovery and is reviewing the case, spokesman Ed Troyer said.
“We have our detective looking at it now,” he said. “We will be working with them.”
Anyone with information on the case is asked to call the Lewis County Sheriff’s Office at 360-748-9286 or Crime Stoppers at 800-748-6422.