COUNCIL BLUFFS — Human remains found Friday morning could be those of a missing Omaha man, authorities said.
The remains were discovered by police officers about 9 a.m. in a drainage ditch on the south side of Interstate 480, just east of the bridge that spans the Missouri River.
Omaha police had asked Council Bluffs officers to search the area after receiving a tip about Chance Fletcher, last seen during a police pursuit in December 2011.
Agent Mitch Mortvedt of the Iowa Division of Criminal Investigation said the remains, found with clothing, had been there for some time. Mortvedt said it was too soon to determine if foul play was involved.
The wooded gulch is a known dwelling area for the homeless, Mortvedt said.
At the scene, personal items were visible under many of the trees. Mortvedt said no one was there when police arrived.
The remains were found about 100 yards west of the Riverbend Apartment complex.
They were taken to the Iowa State Medical Examiner's Office in Ankeny, where an autopsy is expected to be performed this weekend.
Mortvedt said it's possible that the remains are those of Fletcher. A DNA check to confirm that will be among the first tests authorities perform.
Fletcher led several Iowa law enforcement agencies on a high-speed chase on Dec. 15, 2011. It ended when Fletcher wrecked his vehicle off I-480 and ran away.
Mortvedt said authorities searched the area for two hours with police canines that day but were unable to find the man.
Fletcher was listed as a missing person in March 2012. He would be age 22 now.
Police and criminal investigators remained on the scene long after the remains were removed, excavating for evidence.