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Arizona firefighters find clue to eight-year missing person case out of Boise

Firefighters in Arizona came across a backpack later discovered to be that of David Alford, who has been missing from Boise since 2014.

GRAND CANYON JUNCTION, Ariz. — Grand Canyon Firefighters stumbled across a backpack on July 25 while prepping a containment line amid fighting the Dragon Fire in Arizona. When they opened it, they found identification of 36-year-old missing Boise man, David Alford, inside.

Alford is now 44 years old, but has not been seen since 2014, eight years ago. According to the National Missing and Unidentified Persons System (NAMUS), he was last seen hitchhiking on Aug. 25, 2014 near the interstate, holding a cardboard sign that said "Arizona" on one side and "Utah" on the other side.

Joelle Baird of the National Parks Service told KTVB on Monday that 150 wildfire personnel were assigned to manage the Dragon Fire. One crew was prepping the line around the North Rim of the Grand Canyon and stumbled onto the weathered backpack.

"They did find identification inside and personal belongings. They were able to positively identify it belonged to him," Baird said. "Following that discovery, we had a small search team here on the North Rim of the park assembled as well as two K-9 units from search and rescue."

Search teams were able to do a grid search of 370 acres over the course of two days from the area where the backpack was found, she said. 

However, Alford has still not been located, and Baird said the area where the backpack was found is not highly trafficked. They did their best to cover as much area as they could and no additional clues were discovered, she told KTVB.

The NAMUS profile of Alford said he would usually keep in contact with his family through Facebook or email, but all communications ceased that August.

"Everyone started this search with the presumption that we would be finding remains based on the evidence found," Baird said. "This location is a little odd, though, because it's kind of in the middle of nowhere. For there to be no other evidence... It's just not an area most people get to on foot."

The National Parks Service notified Boise Police Department, the lead agency on the investigation into Alford's disappearance, and also contacted Alford's family.

KTVB reached out to BPD and Alford's family and has not received a response at the time of publishing this story.

According to NAMUS, Alford has brown hair, blue eyes, 5’8, and weighed around 140 lbs. at the time. He was last seen carrying a skateboard and a bag, wearing a t-shirt, tan cargo pants and a short full-brimmed hat.

If you have any information regarding Alford's disappearance, contact Boise Police Department at (208)-570-6000.

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