Teens find body of teacher missing for 3 years, authorities say

Larry Bolen was found Thursday near Interstate 20, about a mile east of Highway 5 exit. Police say two teenagers discovered his remains.

DOUGLAS COUNTY, Ga. — Authorities in Douglas County said they have found the remains of a teacher reported missing three years ago.

In 2015, investigators found Larry Bolen’s minivan at Hunter Park in Douglasville.

On Thursday, deputies said, they believe they found his body along Interstate 20, a few miles away from the park.

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Investigators told Channel 2's Tom Regan they were able to quickly identify Bolen, 62, because his clothing and ID were found. He also had a unique dental impression.

They don't believe he was the victim of a crime, but rather that he suffered a grave medical emergency while on a walk in the woods.

Deputies said teens walking through the woods discovered the human remains, clothing and other personal effects, including a wallet.

“He had a unique dental impression. You could see that was present as well,” said Sgt. Jesse Hamrick, with the Douglas County Sheriff’s Office.

Bolen taught English for 30 years. He left home one morning and never returned. Days later, his minivan was found in a park about 1.5 miles from where his body was located Thursday.

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Investigators said the cause of Bolen's death is unknown at this time.

“We don't think there's any foul play involved,” Hamrick said. “It would have been some kind of health condition. We could assume, but we just don't know.”

Over the last three years, search teams covered several hundred miles looking for Bolen.

Hambrick said he hopes the family may finally have some sense of closure in the death of a beloved teacher.

“It's good the family can now rest knowing he's been located and we’re glad we were able to do that,” Hambrick said.

The Douglas County School District sent out a statement saying:

"On behalf of Douglas County Schools, we are profoundly saddened by the recent discovery of the remains of Larry Bolen. Mr. Bolen was a dedicated teacher and greatly loved by students and staff.  

"For nearly three decades, Mr. Bolen served the Douglas County School System with passion and pride. He began his Douglas County teaching career in 1987 as an English language Arts teacher at Lithia Springs High School then later transferred to Alexander High School. While at Lithia Springs, his unwavering commitment to education earned him the title of Teacher of the Year for the school.

"The Douglas County School System extends our deepest sympathies to the family, friends and colleagues of Mr. Bolen." 

Authorities said they may never know Bolen's cause of death. At the time he disappeared, Bolen’s son said, he had been looking forward to retirement.