38-year-old Jared Jay Walters was reported missing to Atascadero police in late February of 2016. During that investigation, authorities found evidence of foul play.
Friends of Walters say they’ve known from the beginning he didn’t just go missing.
"Jared was always laughing, always smiling, always had a huge smile on his face," said Brianna Touey, who had been friends with Jared for years. "He didn’t deserve whatever happened to him, for whatever reason. He never got a proper burial and no one got to pay their respects. Even just the question of what happened… did he suffer? Did he hurt? Where is he? Those are things that run through our minds all the time."
It’s a puzzle investigators have been trying to piece together for more than two years.
"We knew he didn’t just disappear, it wasn’t like him. He wouldn’t fall off the face of the earth. We’ve known for two years that he was murdered," Touey said.
Two years ago, Sheriff’s deputies searched a home on I street in Santa Margarita several times, said to be a location of interest. The home has since been remodeled and has new tenants.
"That was searched a couple times and that brought us to this location that we presently have on Stagecoach Canyon Road," said Tony Cipolla, public information officer with the San Luis Obispo County Sheriff’s Office.
In March of this year, authorities say the remains of Walters was found near the 4100 block of Stagecoach Canyon Road in rural Santa Margarita.
"It took us two days to serve the search warrant, we had a number of different agencies helping us and assisting us with that including the FBI. It’s such a large property, that’s why it took us two days," Cipolla said.
For Walters’ loved ones, the discovery brings hope that someone will be prosecuted.
"He was done wrong and murdered. He is missed, he was a good person and had a good heart," Touey said.