MUSKOGEE, Okla. — The search for Ronald Sanders, who was last seen in August, took perhaps its final twist Wednesday evening.
Muskogee Police Department Lt. Bobby Lee said dental records had been used to positively identify the body found Friday near Turner Hill Park as Sanders, ending what had been two months of searching for the missing man.
Investigators with the police department had spoken to Sanders’ family as of 7 p.m. Wednesday.
Sanders, 46, had last been seen at a house at 1611 Fairmont St., on Aug. 2. That house is less than a mile northeast from where Sanders’ body was discovered Friday. Muskogee County Sheriff's Office Investigator Faye Banks began following leads, searching for Sanders during the first week of August.
The following Monday, Banks learned Sanders had a $100,000 warrant for his arrest stemming from an Oct. 23, 2009, assault case where Sanders allegedly entered a house and struck a juvenile with a baseball bat.
With that knowledge, Banks turned the search over to the U.S. Marshals Service, who adopted the case because of the severity of the charge levied against Sanders.
Banks said Sanders drove to Muskogee in late July in a rental car from his home in Florida. Banks’ Florida landlord told investigators Sanders called Aug. 2 to say his rent would be a week late, but that Sanders would return to pay it.
But Sanders walked out of the house on Fairmont Street shirtless, and was never seen again.
Police located the body Friday after a dog was spotted on 12th Street, carrying a detached human arm. The dog dropped the arm in the middle of the street, and police found the body a short distance away, in the woods behind a house at Capital Place and South Terrace Street.
Investigators said over the weekend the remains were so decomposed, the Oklahoma Medical Examiner's Office would have to identify the body.
Police said no cause of death has been determined, pending the Oklahoma Medical Examiner's report.
Goforth is a staff writer for Muskogee Phoenix, a CNHI News Service paper.