The body of longtime Prescott resident and attorney David William Kell, 61, was found by hikers late last month near the Gates of the Mountains Wilderness Area north of Helena, according to the Lewis and Clark County Sheriff’s Office.
His body was found on July 20 by two teenage boys. He was positively identified on Wednesday, Aug. 8, via dental records, said Brittany Hogan, evidence technician at the Lewis and Clark County Office of the Coroner.
Based on how badly the body was decomposed, officials believe Kell’s remains had been in the area at least a week.
As it stands, no foul play has been identified.
“It’s not under legal investigation anymore, but it is a coroner’s case because it was an unattended death,” Hogan said. “But it’s still pending on the manner and cause of death.”
The toxicology and autopsy reports are not expected to be completed for several weeks, Hogan said.
Kell lived in Prescott for more than 25 years, according to his law firm’s website. Prior to going into private practice, he was a prosecutor with the Yavapai County Attorney’s Office.
John Morris, chief officer of Yavapai County Adult Probation, considered Kell a close friend.
He said Kell’s disappearance was very concerning.
“We were all hoping it was something explainable and our worst fear was realized,” Morris said. “Our hearts go out to his wife and son, and there are plenty of his friends who are just devastated by this news.”
Morris was not sure why Kell was in Montana at the time and contact information for the family could not be obtained.