101 Town Center, P.O. Box 5655, Bella Vista, AR 72714 (479)876-1255

Human remains found in Bella Vista identified

The human remains discovered by a resident in a wooded area in Bella Vista Sunday, Oct. 30 have been positively identified as those of Matthew Loftin.

The remains were sent to the Arkansas Crime Laboratory in Little Rock, where they were officially identified by DNA.

“This is never the ideal outcome for this type of situation, but we hope this news provides some level of closure to the family and friends who have been missing their loved one for more than a year now,” Bella Vista Police Chief James Graves said.

Loftin, 46, has been missing since September 2021, after he was last seen in Bella Vista. Matthew Loftin’s vehicle was located that afternoon at the Buckingham Trailhead on the Back 40 Trails in Bella Vista.

Area agencies joined Bella Vista officers in a multi-day ground search in September 2021, including the use of bikes, ATVs, drones, canines and more. In November 2021 cadaver dogs unsuccessfully searched the area again.

On Sunday, Oct. 30, 2022, remains were discovered about one-and-a-half miles from the Buckingham Trailhead in the woods and were verified by police to be human. Cadaver dogs were brought in from Joplin and searched the area for other bones, clothing or related articles. The search revealed additional human remains nearby, with clothing that matched the description of what Loftin had been wearing when he was last seen. There were no other identifying items recovered.

Graves said his department would like to extend thanks to outside agencies who provided manpower and resources to assist with this case, both in 2021 and this year, including Benton County Search and Rescue, Arkansas Bloodhound Alliance and Quapaw Nation K9 Search Team.

The case remains under investigation and there is no further information at this time.