A body found Wednesday in Badlands National Park has been identified as that of a Laurel, Nebraska, man missing since July 16.
Joshua Jacobsen, 39, was camping by himself when he was reported missing by his family, said Christine Czazasty, a spokeswoman for the National Park Service.
According to a news release from the park, a coroner identified the victim as Jacobsen, the Associated Press reported Friday.
The cause of Jacobsen’s death has not been determined and remains under investigation, the release said.
Badlands National Park covers 242,756 acres in southwestern South Dakota.
Christine Jacobsen-Bucy, the missing man’s mother, posted Thursday on the park’s Facebook page that the person found in a ravine in the Sage Creek Wilderness area is likely her son. A search for Jacobsen had been suspended Aug. 4.
"It is my understanding that the missing person is Joshua," Jacobsen-Bucy wrote.
Jacobsen’s longtime girlfriend, Darla Darnell of Lincoln, said Thursday that her boyfriend had gone to the park on a "vision quest" to engage his spiritual side. She said Jacobsen, who was adopted, believed he had Native American ancestry.
"He had been trying to do this for years because he really related to the Native American culture," Darnell said. "He wanted a traditional spiritual quest."
Tuesday evening, four backpackers notified park rangers that they had found a backpack and other personal items in the Sage Creek Wilderness area. Rangers hiked out to the site Wednesday and located the remains in a dry creek bed at the bottom of a ravine.
The FBI and the Pennington County, South Dakota, Sheriff’s Office assisted in recovering the remains.
Darnell said Jacobsen moved to Laurel about a month before he went missing to take a chef’s job at a new restaurant. He’d graduated from the Southeast Community College culinary school and cooked at the Cornhusker, Brix & Stone and the Lincoln Race Course.
"Josh was a very creative person," Darnell said. "Besides the passion that he had for cooking, he would create Native American drums, and he was teaching himself to carve wood and stone. He also enjoyed drawing and painting."
Larry Bucy, the missing man’s stepfather, said Jacobsen’s mother would probably travel to Badlands National Park over the weekend.