The remains — a skull and a jawbone — belong to Robin Cocks, an Ontario-born First Nations man who disappeared from the southern Saskatchewan reserve about a decade ago, the RCMP said Tuesday.
The skull was found lying on the ground April 12, 2012, by two residents out looking for deer antlers in a remote wooded area on the reserve, which is about 160 kilometres east of Regina.
That started an extensive investigation involving police and forensic experts.
Forensic anthropologist Ernie Walker determined the remains were from a man, 18-25 years old, who had been dead for five to 12 years.
Police got a tip that led them to Vancouver, where they located a former Sakimay resident who had once travelled to the reserve with Cocks.
She told police that they were in a high-risk lifestyle that included drug use. One autumn night, Cocks was acting strangely and left out a basement window wearing light clothes.
She never saw him again — people at the house they were in assumed he had gone back to Vancouver.
The remains were found around a kilometre from the house.
Positive ID was made after experts compared DNA from the skull with DNA from one of Cocks' siblings.
Police said the cause of death is unknown, but there's no indication Cocks died of foul play.
They learned that Robin Cocks, who was born Robin Timothy Jamieson, was originally from Dalles First Nation near Kenora, Ont.
The youngest of nine children, he spent part of his youth in foster care before being adopted into the Cocks family.
It's believed Robin hitchhiked from Ontario to Vancouver in 2003 when he was around 34 years old.
He hadn't been entered on any missing-persons database, police said.
The Sakimay First Nation extended condolences to the Cocks family.