Remains found behind Wakefield shed identified as missing Dracut man

Clifford Bates was reported missing in late April 2018.

The remains found behind a shed in Wakefield earlier this week have been identified as a 54-year-old Dracut man who went missing last year, authorities said Thursday.

Clifford Bates was identified via dental records by the Chief Medical Examiner, according to Middlesex County District Attorney Marian Ryan’s office in a press release.

Bates was reported missing by his sister back on April 29, 2018, the release said.

Bates, who was staying at a voluntary sober house on Lakeshore Drive, reportedly left the home on foot around 7:30 a.m. that morning. When he didn’t come back, the staff called his sister, who then contacted police, according to authorities.


Bates didn’t have a cell phone; a missing person’s report was filed on May 1, 2018. At the time, police asked for help locating him in Wakefield, Chelmsford, Lowell, and Concord. Several tips came through; none led to Bates.

A landscaper found human bones, plus clothes and shoes, under some brush and leaves behind a shed in the backyard of the Lakeshore Drive home where Bates went missing from Monday morning. The home had been vacant since December and was recently sold, the release said.

“The conditions of the remains indicate that they had been outside for an extended period of time, as a result an exact time and cause of death has not been determined,” according to the district attorney’s office, who said the matter remains under investigation.