Yellowstone National Park rangers have announced that remains found last year have been definitively identified as a 21-year-old seasonal concession employee who drowned four years ago in the Yellowstone River.
Feiyang “Isaac” Xiang, from China, was backpacking with friends in July 2015 near the confluence of Hellroaring Creek when he was swept away. His hiking partners told authorities at the time that he was struggling to stay afloat and disappeared from sight as the Yellowstone entered a long stretch of rapids.
Search and rescue crews tried to find Xiang for 12 days before scaling back their operation. The cold case of his missing body is now officially over.
“In February 2018 staff discovered human bones in the vicinity of the 2015 drowning site,” Yellowstone officials said in a statement issued Thursday. “Law enforcement officers collected the remains and sent them to the University of North Texas Center for Human Identification for DNA testing. In June 2019 the park received confirmation that the remains were of Xiang.”
The park kept in touch with Xiang’s family, who reportedly received some closure in July. They came to the park and returned to China with his remains.