Family of Missing Man Whose Lion-Eaten Remains Were Found on Arizona Hiking Trail Vow to Discover Truth

The family of an Oklahoma man whose remains, partially eaten by mountain lions, were found along a hiking trail in Arizona, have said they "won't stop until we know what happened" to him.

The Pima County County Sheriff's Department said Tuesday that the remains located at the Pima Canyon Trail on December 31 belonged to 66-year-old Steven Mark Brashear. In a news release, the sheriff's department said the manner of death has not yet been determined.

The Pima County Medical Examiner's Office said Brashear's autopsy has not been completed yet.

Brashear was reported missing in Oro Valley, Arizona, after last being seen earlier in December. The Oro Valley Police Department said Brashear reportedly left Bartlesville, Oklahoma, with another man to travel to Arizona in a gray Audi with temporary Oklahoma plates.

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Oro Valley police said Brashear may have arrived in the Tucson area on December 8. That afternoon, he was reported to have gone to a restaurant near the Tucson Mall before being picked up by someone in another vehicle. Brashear had not been seen or heard from since then, police said.

Police said they pinged Brashear's cell phone and it was reported to be within a three-mile radius of Oracle Road and Hardy Road, north of Tucson, but a search of the area turned up neither Brashear or his phone.

The Pima County Sheriff's Department reported human remains were discovered on the Pima Canyon Trail on December 31.

ABC 15 reported three mountain lions had eaten some of the remains, according to the Arizona Game and Fish Department. Department officials tracked and killed the animals the next day, the station reported.

Days later, the Pima County County Sheriff's Department said they had arrested 21-year-old man Daylan Thornton for allegedly stealing Brashear's car. Thornton "has been identified as a person of interest in the investigation," the sheriff's office said.

Thornton had reportedly driven to the Tuscon area with Brashear, ABC 15 reported. According to the station, Thornton drove Brashear's car to the Oro Valley Police Station to respond to the missing persons' report about him. Thornton reportedly said something to officers that made them believe Brashear was dead.

Brashear's family had set up a Facebook group in a bid to find him. "This didn't end the way that we wanted it to," a post on the page said on Tuesday.

"The remains found in the Pima county trail have been identified as my dad. At this point in time we don't know much but we can't share any details because it is an open investigation.

"Thank you for supporting us through this whole journey. We wish this had a different ending. But we won't stop until we know what happened and those involved are brought to justice."

Brashear's daughter Gracie Brashear had previously told News 4 Tucson she was hopeful he would be found alive. "I'm hopeful that he's OK but it's very unlike him, he wouldn't just leave us," she told the station.

The family has set up a GoFundMe page to help cover the costs of a memorial and getting Brashear's affairs in order. The organizer has been contacted for comment.

The Pima County Sheriff's Department, the Oro Valley Police Department and Arizona Fish and Game Department have also been contacted for additional comment.

Steven Brashear
The human remains located at the Pima Canyon Trail on December 31 belonged to 66-year-old Steven Mark Brashear, authorities said. Oro Valley Police Department