SUNNYSIDE, Wash. — Authorities say they won’t be able to determine until next week whether the remains of body found in a burned-out car south of town are those of a Prosser man reported missing Sunday.
Dental records and DNA samples will be needed to identify the bones and skull found in the car’s trunk by a tow truck operator, according to Yakima County Coroner Jack Hawkins.
The body was discovered about 10:15 a.m. Tuesday in a charred four-door Dodge sedan the tow truck driver was preparing to remove from private property near Emerald Road and South Emerald Road, south of Sunnyside, said Stew Graham, chief of detectives with the Yakima County Sheriff’s Office.
The car was registered to Preston Yahne, 22, a Prosser-area resident who was reported missing Sunday by family members, Graham said.
Investigators are now trying to retrace Yahne’s steps, Graham said.
Yahne, a 2009 Prosser High School graduate, was a well-liked student with a sense of humor, said Principal Kevin Lusk.
“He was kind of a character,” Lusk said.
He played football and baseball at the high school.
Yahne served four years in the Air Force and had returned home, said his great-aunt, Patricia Yahne of Prosser. She said she didn’t know much about what he had been up to lately, other than he recently visited some older family members he had not seen in a while, she said.
“I think he was a good kid,” she said.
Those with information about the incident are asked to call the Yakima County Sheriff’s Office at 509-574-2500 or Crime Stoppers Yakima County at 800-222-TIPS.