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25th Jun 2023

Human remains found in search for British actor Julian Sands

Steve Hopkins

Formal identification of the remains is expected next week

Hikers in the US have found human remains near the area where British actor Julian Sands disappeared, five months ago.

The San Bernardino County sheriff’s department in south California said the remains had been taken to the coroner’s office for identification, and formal identification is expected to be completed next week.

“Civilian hikers contacted the Fontana Sheriff’s Station after they discovered human remains in the Mt Baldy wilderness,” the sheriff’s department said on Saturday. The statement gave no other details.

Sands’s family issued a statement early this week expressing gratitude “to the search teams and coordinators who have worked tirelessly to find Julian”.

“We continue to hold Julian in our hearts with bright memories of him as a wonderful father, husband, explorer, lover of the natural world and the arts, and as an original and collaborative performer,” they said.

Sands, best known for his roles in the Oscar-winning film A Room With A View, and the TV dramas 24, Smallville and Banshee, went missing on 13 January while hiking in the San Gabriel Mountains, north of Los Angeles.

The actor, born in Otley, West Yorkshire, disappeared in the Baldy Bowl area during bad weather.

Authorities immediately issued a search and rescue mission but were forced to withdraw their efforts due to risks of avalanche.

On June 17, more than 80 search and rescue volunteers, deputies and staff headed to the area to continue the search, with the help of a drone crew and two helicopters. It was successful, the search remained active.

The San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Department said afterwards: “Despite the recent warmer weather, portions of the mountain remain inaccessible due to extreme alpine conditions.

“Multiple areas include steep terrain and ravines, which still have 10-plus feet of ice and snow.”

Sands, also known for his roles in Ocean’s Thirteen, The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, Naked Lunch and Warlock, loved hiking.

He previously told the Yorkshire Post: “And, you know what? Mountain climbing and filmmaking are very connected.

“There’s always another mountain. And ultimately the point of climbing a mountain is that the mountain is within. And I think that’s true, too, of the acting experience.”

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