By Alyssa Schnugg
Human remains discovered Sunday in Bella Vista, Arkansas are likely those of a former pharmacist and University of Mississippi graduate missing for more than a year.
Matthew Loftin, 46, walked out of his Bella Vista home on Sept. 17, 2021, and was never seen again. Police discovered his truck a few days later parked at a trailhead to Back 40 Trails which consists of steep, winding trails designed and built mostly for mountain biking.
According to the Bella Vista Police, a skull was discovered about one-and-a-half miles from the Buckingham Trailhead in the woods and was verified by police on Sunday to be human. Cadaver dogs were brought in from Joplin and searched the area on Monday for other bones, clothing or related articles.
The search revealed additional human remains about 200 yards from the skull, with clothing that matched the description of what Loftin had been wearing when he was last seen. There were no other identifying items recovered.
Bella Vista Police Chief James Graves said the family has been notified and while the identity has not been confirmed, agencies are working to get that done as soon as possible.
All of the evidence has been turned over to the Benton County Coroner’s Office for further investigation.
There are no further details at this time, and this incident remains under investigation.
At the time of his disappearance, several family members suspected Loftin may have committed suicide; however, a cause of death has not yet been determined.
After earning his Doctor of Pharmacy at Ole Miss in 2007, Loftin eventually got married and moved to Bella Vista where he worked at Walmart as a pharmacist.
In 2019, Loftin was dismissed by Walmart after being charged with theft and lost his license to be a pharmacist.
Ron Guidry, Loftin’s ex-brother-in-law and friend, said Loftin started doing “uncharacteristic things” and that after losing his job and license to practice, Loftin began showing signs of depression.
Despite learning the human remains may be Loftin’s on a Bella Vista Police Department Facebook post before being contacted by police, Guidry said the family is “grateful to have some closure.”