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Missing man's remains found in Arizona 1 year after he vanished from Las Vegas

David Rathbun vanished in Sep. of 2017. His home, car, & property sold for cash. A missing persons detective told his family, “He’s grown, this isn’t a movie.” Nearly 1-year later officers found his remains in the desert.

In September of 2017, 62-year-old David Rathbun vanished. His home, car, and property had been sold.

Rathbun worked his entire life to retire in Las Vegas. He purchased a home in the Providence area of Las Vegas and spent his days hiking and riding his motorcycle.

After the October 1st mass shooting in Las Vegas, Rathbun's family called to check on him, but they didn’t get an answer. Instead, only text messages.

Someone responding from Rathbun's phone saying things like, "Can we talk later? I'm a little busy."

After nearly two weeks of not hearing Rathbun's voice, his family sent police to his home and officers found his house empty.

Rathbun’s sister, Linda Rathbun, later discovered that someone sold his home for cash, for $70,000 less than what it was worth. His credit and bank cards were also still being used.

"I will never forget this, because I had to call my sister at 3 a.m. and tell her the house was empty, and she said to me, ‘He's dead isn't he?'" Linda recalled.

The family filed a missing person’s report, which froze Rathbun’s accounts. That's when the text messages from his phone grew hostile.

The texts came from someone asking Rathbun's family to wire money, upset they'd lost access to his accounts.

"They wanted us to back off and we were just pit bulls, we would not go away," said David’s daughter, Natasha Rathbun.

Natasha also says a missing person's detective told his worried family not to let their imaginations run wild.

"He didn't believe us. He's like, 'your dad's a grown man, people don't just go missing. Their houses aren't just sold, it doesn't happen, this isn't a movie,'" she said.

However, as more details unfolded, it ended up being a missing person's case like something straight out of a movie.

Leading up to Rathbun’s disappearance he told his daughter Natasha about a woman he met who needed help. He called that woman "Jo."

"It was the most absurd story I ever heard. I mean, she had 10 kids and she had this form of cancer and she was living in a shed," Natasha explained.

Linda kept digging and found surveillance of a mystery man making a withdrawal from Rathbun’s bank on Boulder Highway in Las Vegas. She says she took that information to the missing person's detective and he immediately handed the case to homicide detectives.

On June of 2018, nearly nine months after Rathbun disappeared, police sent a release to the media, calling 45-year-old Jolene Hibbs and her alleged boyfriend 55-year-old Charles Ausiello persons of interest in his disappearance.

According to the release, the pair already had several felony arrest warrants for fraud, forgery and grand larceny.

"I don't know how anyone could feel safe," Linda said. "They targeted people before my brother, we know that. And I’m sure they're targeting people now, this is what they do."

Rathbun’s family tells us three weeks after the story aired on News 3, officers received a tip that led officers to the body.

On August 9, officers recovered Rathbun’s remains from the desert near Dolan Springs, Arizona.

Linda and Natasha Rathbun say David deserved better. They want justice.

"They're free, they are free! And my father’s dead!" Natasha said.

The family says David’s remains were reduced to mere bones and they identified him through dental records but they still haven’t been able to determine how he died.

News 3 reached out to LVMPD homicide detectives on Sept. 18 for details and more information, but they chose not to comment, saying only that it’s an ongoing investigation.

If you have any more information about the suspect's whereabouts, you are urged to call Crime Stoppers at 702-385-5555.

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