JACKSONVILLE, N.C. (WNCT) — The Onslow County Sheriff’s says the human remains found on Huggins Island in Onslow County have been identified as belonging to a missing kayaker.

The local medical examiner’s office made a positive identification of the remains and said they belonged to Warren Liner, the sheriff’s office said in a Facebook post Friday morning.

NC Wildlife began investigating after human remains were found on Huggins Island near Hammocks Beach State Park in Onslow County last week. Onslow County Sheriff’s Office deputies responded on July 9 at around 3 p.m. to the area of Huggins Island. The response was made after the human remains were found by teenagers while they were exploring the island.

A preliminary investigation revealed the remains were that of Liner, 73, who was last seen on Dec. 31, 2021 while on a solo kayak trip in Bogue Inlet near Emerald Isle. Liner’s kayak and life jacket were recovered during a search on Bear Island not long after he was reported missing. The initial search of the area and investigation included members of the Coast Guard, NC Division of Marine Fisheries, NC Wildlife Resources, and NC Park Service.

The investigation continues by NC Wildlife, according to the sheriff’s office.