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Bones found in Minnesota park belong to man missing since 2012

Skeletal remains found in a Lakeville, Minn., park Thursday are those of a local man missing since 2012, police said Friday.

The remains were identified as those of Christopher Marc Bellino, who was reported missing Aug. 3, 2012. He was last seen alive a few days earlier at a shopping center a few miles from the park, Lakeville Police Captain Kevin Manias said.

His car was found later that month in the parking lot of a Target store there.

There’s no evidence of foul play, Manias said. The Hennepin County Medical Examiner has yet to determine the cause and manner of Bellino’s death.

Police said they didn’t suspect foul play when Bellino went missing, but considered him an endangered person.

A group of Lakeville High School students came across the remains at about 2 p.m. Thursday in Ritter Farm Park while doing a field orienteering exercise with the Minnesota Army National Guard. They initially found a skull, then contacted police.

A search of the area turned up more bones spread around, Manias said.

The 340-acre park is a popular draw in the area, but the site where the remains were found is remote and heavily wooded, he said. The bones weren’t buried, and no clothing or other personal items were found at the scene.

Lakeville police, the Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension and the Hennepin County Medical Examiner are still investigating, Manias said.