Human remains identified as disabled man missing for 2 years
BRAINERD, Minn. — Human remains found Saturday night in a wooded area off Business Highway 371 south of Brainerd have been identified as those of Marc Welzant, a developmentally disabled man who went missing over two years ago, Brainerd Police Chief Corky McQuiston stated in a news release.
McQuiston stated the cause of death has not yet been determined but there are no preliminary indications that foul play is involved. Police said Welzant's remains were located on private property not far from the Mississippi River in a undeveloped wooded area about 2 miles south and west from where he was last seen.
The Bureau of Criminal Apprehension and the Crow Wing County Sheriff's Office were stationed Sunday morning at the scene just off Business Highway 371 near Buffalo Creek and a sheriff deputy stayed on scene most of the day monitoring the area.
The Brainerd Police Department, which has been the agency investigating Welzant's disappearance since Day 1, is the primary office overseeing the case, with help from the BCA, the sheriff's office and the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources.
Welzant was last seen the afternoon of Oct. 26, 2014, when he left his group home. He was recorded on video at the Holiday Gas Station on South Sixth Street in Brainerd shortly before 3 p.m. In addition, Brainerd police received a report at 4:30 p.m. from a group of people who saw Welzant heading west on the walking trail at Kiwanis Park.
Initial searches included the areas of Kiwanis Park to the Buster Dog Park, the Buffalo Hills Trail, behind the Brainerd Water Plant, as well as the woods between the Mississippi River to Central Lakes College.
Welzant, who is the youngest of 11 siblings, was diagnosed with Prader-Willi syndrome at 2 years of age, a rare genetic disorder that can result in a range of physical, mental and behavioral problems.
Welzant's birthday was celebrated on March 17 and he would have turned 50.
Those with information regarding the investigation are asked to contact the Brainerd Police Department at 218-829-2805.