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Remains found in Wakefield identified as man reported missing from sober home in 2018

A 54-year-old man who was reported missing from a voluntary sober home was identified as the person whose remains were found outside a Wakefield residence Monday, officials said Thursday.

The remains of Clifford Bates of Dracut were found Monday morning when a landscaper working at a home on Lakeshore Drive in Wakefield discovered human bones, shoes, and clothing under leaves and a brush in the rear yard behind a shed, Middlesex district attorney’s office and Wakefield police said in a joint statement. He was positively identified through dental records.

Bates was reported missing by his sister on April 29, 2018, when he allegedly walked away from a voluntary sober home in Wakefield and told police she was “concerned about his well-being,” officials said.


Bates had walked away from the sober home around 7:30 a.m. that day, and when he did not return, staff called his sister, officials said. He did not have a cellphone and allegedly had a history of “similar behavior,” officials said.

The sister lived at the home on Lakeshore Drive where his remains were found, officials said.

A missing person’s report was filed by Bates’s family on May 1, 2018, and the public was asked to help look for him in the areas of Wakefield, Chelmsford, Lowell, and Concord, officials said. Several tips were received by police, but Bates was never located.

The condition of the remains found Monday shows they have been outside for an “extended period of time,” leaving investigators unable to determine an exact time or cause of death, officials said.

The incident remains under investigation by the Middlesex district attorney’s office, Wakefield police, and the state’s chief medical examiner’s office.

Breanne Kovatch can be reached at Follow her on Twitter @breannekovatch.