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DNA tests lay Steve Fossett to rest

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Tests on DNA taken from remains found close to the wreckage of Steve Fossett's aircraft have finally laid the missing adventurer to rest.

The genetic material was extracted from two bones discovered last week at the site of the crashed Bellanca Citabria Super Decathlon, which disappeared on 3 September last year after taking off from Barron Hilton's Flying M Ranch in Nevada, Reuters reports./p>

An extensive search failed to find Fossett. But in September this year a hiker stumbled across the aircraft in mountainous terrain near the town of Mammoth Lakes, Mono County, California. Investigators initially found "minimal" human remains in the plane, but have now been able to carry out a definitive genetic test.

The sheriff-coroner's office of Madera County - which neighbours Mono County - said in a statement: "A California Department of Justice Forensics lab has determined that items containing DNA - discovered last week - match James Stephen Fossett's DNA."

Office spokeswoman Erica Stuart confirmed: "The coroner's case is closed."

Fossett's widow Peggy said in a statement: "I am hopeful that the DNA identification puts a definitive end to all of the speculation surrounding Steve's death.

"This has been an incredibly difficult time for me, and I am thankful to everyone who helped bring closure to this tragedy. I now await the conclusion of the National Transportation Safety Board investigation and findings into the cause of the crash." ®

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