Julian Sands: Human remains found in California wilderness near search area for actor

Human remains have been found in an area where actor Julian Sands disappeared.
Human remains have been found in an area where actor Julian Sands disappeared. Photo credit: CNN

Human remains were found Saturday (US time) in Southern California near the area where investigators have been searching for missing British actor Julian Sands, according to authorities.

"Civilian hikers contacted the Fontana Sheriff's Station after they discovered human remains in the Mt. Baldy wilderness," the San Bernardino County Sheriff's Department said in a news release.

Investigators say positive identification of the remains should be completed next week.

The search for Sands, who has not been seen since going hiking in the San Gabriel Mountains northeast of Los Angeles in January, was focused on the Mount Baldy area after investigators traced pings from his cell phone to that location.

Poor weather and harsh conditions meant the active search had been mostly dormant until resuming last Saturday.

More than 80 search and rescue volunteers, deputies and staff participated in the search efforts, which were supported by two helicopters and drone crews as volunteers searched in "remote areas across Mount Baldy and conducted aerial search and assessment efforts," according to officials.

The San Bernardino County Sheriff's Department said Monday "despite the recent warmer weather, portions of the mountain remain inaccessible due to extreme alpine conditions," and multiple search areas include steep terrain covered in "10 plus feet of ice and snow."

Gloria Huerta, a spokesperson with the department, told CNN in January officials were forced to suspend their search efforts due to severe weather and an avalanche threat.

Sands is best known for his television roles as Vladimir Bierko, an antagonist in the fifth season of 24, as well as Superman’s father Jor-El in Smallville.

On the big screen, he played the title character in two editions of the Warlock horror movie franchise and whose credits include Arachnophobia and Leaving Las Vegas.