Search may be over for missing West Point man
BY CHUCK VANDENBERG
WEST POINT – Closure may be close at hand for a family of a West Point man who has been missing since June 12.
According to a release from Lee County Sheriff Stacy Weber, partial remains were located on property about seven miles north of West Point in Lee County on Sunday, Sept. 5 in the area of 110th Street and 240th Avenue.
A full search was conducted in the immediate area that day but no additional human remains were discovered.
On Sept. 8, West Point Police, West Point Fire & Rescue, Lee County Sheriff’s Dept and the Iowa Department of Criminal Investigations conducted another search with K9 officers of a broader area. No other remains were discovered as a result of that search.
However on Saturday, Sept 11, the property owners were conducting a brush cleaning operation to help with future searches. On Sunday morning the 12th, the owners of the property discovered additional remains.
The above law enforcement, as well as a Lee County Medical Examiner investigator responded to the property and conducted another investigation.
Weber said the scene investigation didn’t turn up any indications of foul play and there were personal items discovered at the scene which the release indicated “will assist in the identification” of the body. However final identification will come from DNA evidence.
Weber said DNA evidence has not yet been returned on the remains that were discovered on Sept. 5.
The remains were sent to the Iowa State Medical Examiner’s Office for an autopsy, examination and identification.
Weber said there is no evidence of threats or dangers to the general public related to the incident.
Although no official identification has been made, authorities have been searching for a 54-year-old man who disappeared on the north side of West Point on June 14th.
The man, Darren Bunnell has yet to be located, however officials are not confirming at this point that the remains could be that of Bunnell.
In August, West Point Police Chief Brad Roberts said the department, along with county and state officials hadn’t given up searching for Bunnell and were looking for help in trying to locate the man.
At that time, Roberts said he didn’t suspect foul play as Bunnell was known to suffer from some mental health issues.