May 31, 2012
Denise Germann, 406 888-5838
WEST GLACIER, MONT. - Bone fragments found in Glacier National Park last summer have been analyzed by the National Missing Person's Program at the University of North Texas Center for Human Identification and identified as those of Yi-Jien Hwa, a hiker missing in the park since the summer of 2008.
The analysis positively matched the bone fragments to Hwa, and several pieces of evidence were found that closely match the items identified in Hwa's equipment list. The park has contacted Hwa's family and closed the investigation.
The search effort began August 21, 2008 after receiving word from Hwa's family that he was three days overdue from a lengthy and arduous planned hike in the park's backcountry. After more than 2,500 hours of searching in difficult terrain and challenging conditions, the intensive effort was scaled back in early September of 2008. Since then, park rangers have continued to respond to new leads and analyze new information related to the investigation, including a report of suspected evidence found last summer.
In July of 2011, a hiker found a portion of two items of clothing matching the description of Hwa's clothing in an area below the steep cliffs above Avalanche Lake. This area was determined to be in the area of Hwa's intended travel route. Rangers returned to the site for further investigation and found additional evidence, including bone fragments.
Glacier National Park Rangers extend sympathy to the family, and appreciation to the Flathead County Sheriff's Department and Search and Rescue Team, and the many individuals and organizations that assisted with the investigation.