Skull found near Oatman ID’d as missing California man

April 5, 2019

KINGMAN — Forensic analysis has led to positive identification following the discovery of a human skull a little more than a year ago, according to the Mohave County Sheriff’s Office.

A hiker found the skull on March 15, 2018, in a desert area off Historic Route 66, south of Oatman.

MCSO spokeswoman Anita Mortensen said the skull was sent to the University of North Texas Center for Human Identification for DNA analysis. She said the center recently informed local authorities that the remains are those of Ilaisa V. Vaitai, 68.

Mortensen said Vaitai had been reported missing from his home in Ontario, California, in May of 2017. She said no cause of death has been determined but that authorities were certain that there was no foul play involved in the death.

The sheriff’s office was unable to provide information regarding how Vaitai made it to the location where his skull was discovered, however.

Authorities said no other items — including any other remains or personal belongings — were found near the skull.