DOUGLAS COUNTY, Ga. - Human remains found along Interstate 20 in Douglas County Wednesday night has been identified as those of a beloved Douglas County school teacher missing since 2015.
Larry Bolen, 62, had been missing since May 2015. His vehicle was found near Hunter Park days after he disappeared. Hundreds of people searched for him for days and then again the following February.
"They spent a great time of effort looking, horseback, ATVs, on foot, volunteers, members of sheriff's department, police department, as well as fire department. So, we spent several days combing literally over the property as we could trying to locate him," said Sgt. Jesse Hambrick, Douglas County Sheriff's Office.
Bolen's remains were found about two miles from where he was last seen.
"We were able to find items in and around the remains that would conclusively tells us it's the remains of Larry Bolen," said Sgt. Hambrick.
Those items include the clothes Bolen was wearing when he went missing, his ID, and a unique dental impression.
While this ends a three-year mystery, the sheriff's office doesn't think anything criminal caused him to disappear.
"We have no reason to believe foul play. We know that he got out of his vehicle and walked off on his own accord. As to his state of mind, I just can't say, but we know he left his vehicle willingly," said Sgt. Hambrick.
Douglas County Schools said Bolen was an English Language Arts teacher at Lithia Springs High School then later transferred to Alexander High School. There he earned the title of Teacher of the Year for the school.
“On behalf of Douglas County Schools, we are profoundly saddened by the recent discovery of the remains of Larry Bolen. Mr. Bolen was a dedicated teacher and greatly loved by students and staff,” the district wrote in a statement to FOX 5 News.
Bolen started teaching in1987.
“For nearly three decades, Mr. Bolen served the Douglas County School System with passion and pride,” the district wrote about Bolen. “The Douglas County School System extends our deepest sympathies to the family, friends, and colleagues of Mr. Bolen.”
Bolen’s remains were found by some children hiking in the woods.
The cause and manner of death have not yet been determined.