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Adventurer Fossett's Remains Identified

Authorities say they've positively identified some of aviator Steve Fossett's remains: two large bones found a half-mile from where the adventurer's plane crashed in California's Sierra Nevada.

Madera County Sheriff John Anderson said Monday that DNA tests conducted by the state Department of Justice positively identified the bones as the remains of the millionaire aviator who disappeared last year.

Authorities found the bones last week. Anderson said searchers also found Fossett's tennis shoes, his Illinois driver's license and credit cards. The shoes and driver's license had animal bite marks on them.

Anderson says Fossett would have died on impact and that it's not unusual for animals to drag away remains.

"This reinforces our theory that animals dragged him away," Anderson said.

Fossett vanished in September 2007 after taking off from a Nevada ranch owned by hotel magnate Barron Hilton.

Previous bone fragments discovered near the wreckage were either found to be not human or too small for DNA tests. Investigators have completed their work on the ground and do not plan to resume search efforts, Anderson said.

Fossett's widow, Peggy, said in a statement last week that the discovery of bones was "another step in the process of completing the investigation into the tragic accident that took Steve's life."

Fossett, who lived part-time in Beaver Creek, Colo., vanished during what was supposed to be a short pleasure flight.

His disappearance spurred a huge search that covered 20,000 square miles, cost millions of dollars and included the use of infrared technology.

For a while, many of Fossett's friends held out hope he survived, given his many close scrapes with death over the years. But a judge declared him legally dead in February, and his plane wreckage was found this month after a hiker came across his pilot identification cards amid a pile of weathered $100 bills west of Mammoth Lakes in the eastern Sierra.

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