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DNA confirms missing Lompoc man died near scene of crash off Hwy 166 in 2017

Zacharey Wilks was reported missing in May of 2017
Posted at 12:46 PM, Mar 02, 2020

A man reported missing from Lompoc almost three years ago is confirmed dead.

The Kern County Sheriff's Office says in November of last year, remains were recovered near the area where Zacharey Tayler Wilks' car was found a month earlier along State Route 166, east of Soda Lake Road in Maricopa.

DNA confirmed the remains were those of Wilks, according to the sheriff's office, which adds that the cause and manner of his death could not be determined.

Wilks was reported missing after his mother, Elizabeth, said her son left Lompoc May 24, 2017 and was headed to Las Vegas but never arrived.

His cell phone pinged off a cell tower above New Cuyama for six hours before it shut off, Elizabeth Wilks previously told KSBY News.

Multiple searches were done in that area, but there were no leads until his 90s black Honda Civic was located last fall. CHP said it's believed Wilks' vehicle had been in the area since around the time he went missing.

On a Facebook page originally set up to help find the missing man, people are now posting pictures and memories of Wilks, who would now be 29-years-old.

"To those that love and forever will miss Zacharey, day 1,006 brought us the news we never wanted to hear," his mom posted in part on the Facebook page last Wednesday.

She added, "Our family is broken we never wanted this day to come."