After four years, only bones remained making positive identification difficult. Fresno County Coroner David Hadden said DNA analysis was the only sure way to name the victim.
"We took a tooth, and the DNA was extracted from the root of the tooth," said Hadden. "That was then sent to the department of Justice, where they compared it with the DNA of the parents and in that way we were able to determine the identity of the individual."
While the remains have been identified as those of Steven Humphrey, Hadden says determining the cause of death will take considerably more time. And may not be possible.
Humphrey was last seen in January of 2009. Family members say he had associated with the people who live on the property where his body was found.
The victim's cousin, Shiloh Lee told Action News the family had already believed the body found was Steven's.
Lee explained, "It's a relief, a certain closure, but really just confirmation of what we already knew."
Fresno police say the homicide is under active investigation.