Officials expect to be able to identify next week a body found inside a burned car belonging to a missing Prosser man, the Yakima County coroner said Thursday.
The bones, which were found Tuesday inside a car registered to Preston Yahne, 22, of Prosser, will be sent to a King County anthropologist for examination, Coroner Jack Hawkins said. The anthropologist also will review dental records and DNA to try to make an identification early next week.
"There's a lot of bones that are pretty well disintegrated," he said.
The Yakima County Sheriff's Office is investigating the case as a possible homicide, said Chief of Detectives Stewart Graham.
The bones were found on South Emerald Road in Sunnyside when a tow company was called to remove a burned car, the sheriff's office said. The tow truck operator saw what looked like a skull in the trunk of the car after loading it onto the tow truck.
All of the human remains were found in the trunk, said Graham said.
Yahne was reported missing out of Benton County on Sunday.
Yahne, a 2009 Prosser High School graduate who played football and baseball, was a well-liked student with a sense of humor, said Principal Kevin Lusk.
"He was kind of a character," Lusk told the Yakima Herald-Republic.
Yahne served four years in the Air Force and had returned home, his great-aunt, Patricia Yahne of Prosser, told the Herald-Republic.
She said she didn't know much about what he had been up to lately, other than he recently visited some older family members he had not seen in a while, she said. "I think he was a good kid," she said.
Anyone with information should contact the Yakima County Sheriff's Office at 509-574-250.