Human remains found at Oak Mountain State Park believed to be those of missing Alabaster man

Published 10:17 am Monday, November 9, 2009

Human skeleton remains found in Oak Mountain State Park on Friday, Nov. 6 at approximately 11 a.m. are believed to be those of Howard Stanford, a 38-year-old Alabaster resident and Iraq War Veteran.

Pelham Police Sgt. Michael Carey said clothing and identification near the remains matched those of Stanford, although officials are awaiting dental records to confirm the identity.

Hunters discovered the remains near a makeshift campsite miles away from the nearest walking trail.

Stanford, a husband and father of two, has been missing since Sept. 1, and his car was discovered at the park shortly after his disappearance.

“He was one of the finest young men I ever knew,” said Betty Stanford, Howard Stanford’s mother. “He was very devoted to everything he did, and he always believed in doing the right thing.

“He was a wonderful son,” Betty Stanford added.

Carey said investigators do not believe the case to be a homicide.

“There’s no evidence of any foul play,” Carey said.

Approximately 30 local law enforcement officials and Stanford’s family searched the heavily wooded park Sept. 5, but produced no sign of Stanford.