Missing Oklahoma man found dead in forest

Wednesday, November 20, 2019

Authorities: ‘No signs of foul play’

On Sunday, skeletal remains and clothing were found by deer hunters in Mark Twain National Forest approximately a mile off of Forest Road 1150, southwest of Roaring River State Park.

The remains have been identified as those of missing person Ritchie Vaughn Ellis, 27 at the time of his disappearance, of Wyandotte, Okla. Ellis was last seen on Jan. 21 and reported missing on Jan. 26 after his car was found on Missouri State Highway 112, southwest of Roaring River State Park.

Police said Ellis, who worked in Joplin, sent a message to his manager on Jan. 21 saying he would not be coming in that day.

The Barry County Sheriff’s Office, Missouri State Park Rangers, the Missouri State Highway Patrol, various fire protection district personnel and search teams from Oklahoma and other several agencies performed extensive searches of Mark Twain Forest in the area where the vehicle was located in January.

The search was unsuccessful and was suspended pending additional information.

An investigation has determined there are no signs of foul play. The cause is a self-inflicted gunshot wound.

The family has been notified of the discovery of the remains, and arrangements are being made to release the remains to the family.

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