PRESTON, Minn. — Family members of a LeRoy man who was reported missing on Aug. 7 say they found his remains on Thursday.
The Mower County Sheriff's Office confirmed Friday, Sept. 20, that human remains were found by private citizens in a remote area of Forestville State Park in Preston, about 40 miles south of Rochester, on Thursday afternoon.
Steven Holm, 35, was last seen in Mankato on July 30 — the same day his family last heard from him. Holm's family reported him missing on Aug. 7.
Mower County Sheriff Steve Sandvik acknowledged that family members of Holm had confirmed to media outlets that the discovered remains belonged to him, but Sandvik said law enforcement were "tied and obligated to make sure all identification and investigation is based on scientific identification, facts and evidence," and did not definitively say if the remains were that of Holm.
Sandvik did not identify the citizens who found the remains but said they may have been related to Holm.
Around noon Thursday, the Fillmore County Sheriff’s Office received a report of the discovery of possible remains in Forestville State Park, Sandvik said.
"The remains were skeletonized and no means of identification were at the scene," said Sandvik.
He said there were no obvious signs of struggle or foul play at the scene. The remains were sent to the Southern Minnesota Regional Medical Examiner’s office for an autopsy, which Sandvik said could take days or weeks.
"It's an extremely remote area with many many high bluffs and hilltops, and then large, dense unbrush or overgrowth," Sandvik said of where the remains were found.
Ruth Holm, a woman who identified herself as Steven Holm's aunt, posted to the Facebook group Concerned Citizens of Faribault "Caring for this town and each other" around 8 p.m. Thursday, saying that her "nephew's body was found in a MN state park. That's all I know. Thanks for the prayers, good vibes, and all that. I'm glad we didn't have to wait years to find him."
A vehicle registered to Holm was found around Aug. 2 at Forestville State Park, and the car was towed at the direction of park staff on Aug. 6. Sandvick said the Fillmore County Sheriff’s Office conducted an organized two-day search of the park a week after Holm was reported missing.
Reporter Noah Fish contributed to this report.