EL PASO, Texas - The human remains found in Montana in 1982 have been identified as the remains of Airman First Class Rudy Redd Victor, 20, who went missing in 1974.
Victor, of Shiprock, New Mexico, was a power production specialist assigned to the 449th Mobility Support Squadron at Holloman Air Force Base.
Air Force officials say he was on leave visiting family members in Arizona and Colorado when he disappeared.
Victor was last seen near the Wolf Creek Rest Area, Lewis and Clark County, Montana.
Officials say that when he did not return to duty on June 21, 1974, he was placed into Absent Without Leave (AWOL) status. On July 21, 1974, he was still missing and was placed into Deserter status.
According to the Air Force, on Sept. 4, 1982, a livestock inspector and his team were driving cattle when they found a human skull at the Wolf Creek Rest Area near I-15.
That skull was turned into the Lewis and Clark County Coroner's Office and sent to the Montana Crime Laboratory, Missoula, Montana for analysis On June 22, 1984.
On July 25, 1984, investigators found the additional unidentified remains. Lewis and Clark County Sheriff's Office preliminary findings determined the cause of death was likely suicide, Air Force officials said.
In 2016, AFOSI reviewed Victor's deserter case and loaded his profile into the National Missing and Unidentified Person System (NamUs). NamUs is a National Institute of Justice repository for information concerning missing and unidentified persons.
On June 8, 2017, investigators received a dental match on the unknown skull found in Montana in 1982 and determined it was that of Rudy Redd Victor.
The Air Force said that on June 14, 2017, the coroner produced a death certificate wherein he concluded Victor's cause and manner of death was undetermined, but ruled that Victor died on or about June 15, 1974.
Victor's personnel record has been corrected by the Air Force Personnel Center and he has been removed from Deserter status, the Air Force said.