Sheriff's office confirms skeletal remains found off Balanced Rock Road are missing hiker

EL PASO COUNTY, Colo. (KKTV) - UPDATE (12/18): The El Paso County Sheriff's Office confirmed that skeletal remains found last week are the remains of missing hiker Kevin Rudnicki.

Rudnicki's family had previously confirmed with 11 News that the remains were his.

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PREVIOUS (12/13): The family of a 20-year-old hiker who went missing in September tells 11 News his remains were found this week.

Kevin Rudnicki left to go hiking in the Mount Herman area on Sept. 2 and told his family he would be back later that afternoon for his niece’s birthday.

He never came home.

“We just miss him so much, and we just want to know what happened,” Megan Reynolds, Kevin’s sister told 11 News.

The family told 11 News the search came to a tragic conclusion Wednesday when relatives found Rudnicki's body. The official search had been suspended weeks ago, but the family never gave up looking. According to them, that determination paid off, though not in the way anyone would have ever wanted.

The family says they are just awaiting the official word from the coroner but know without a shadow of a doubt that it's him.

The family's news comes as the El Paso County Sheriff's Office confirms remains were found on Balanced Rock Road Wednesday. The Forest Service road cuts through the Pike National Forest, with endpoints at Rampart Range Road and Palmer Lake. It has several connections with the trail system on Mount Herman.

The sheriff's office would not comment on the identity of the remains but did tell 11 News the person who found the Balanced Rock Road remains had been involved and associated with the search for Rudnicki.