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Investigators say a years-long search for an unrepentant New York man who raped at least two women nearly a decade ago has come to an end, when authorities confirmed those found by a pedestrian earlier this year The human remains belonged to him.


The remains of Michael S. Hawkins were found in March by a hiker trekking through the woods in Niscauna, New York, about 10 miles northwest of Albany. Hawkins was charged with rape in 2012 and 2013.

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Officials said during a news conference on Friday that evidence found in the area, including a belt hanging from a tree branch, suggested Hawkings died by suicide.

From identification cards found near the remains, as well as DNA analysis, officials concluded that the bones and skull belonged to him.

“Given these findings, we can report a high probability that the search for Michael Hawkins is over, and apparently out of his hand as a fugitive from justice,” Niscuna Police Sgt. Joseph Twitty said.

In 2019, Hawkins was featured in the television program “In Pursuit with John Walsh”.

Officials could not immediately say how long the remains had been in the forest.

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