Remains of Thurston County man found nearly 5 years after his disappearance, investigation continues

THURSTON COUNTY, Wash. - Thurston County Sheriff's Deputies say human remains found by a hunter in the Rochester – Grand Mound area last month belong to Matthew Anfeldt, a young man who was last seen on Feb. 28, 2019.

The Thurston County Sheriff's Office (TCSO) says on Oct. 28, deputies were dispatched to the area where the hunter made the discovery. The next day, detectives and search and rescue crews conducted an extensive search to find additional remains.

On Nov. 2, the remains were identified as 20-year-old Matthew Anfeldt. A detective called Matthew's mom with the news. "It felt like almost five years of emotion, every emotion I felt the last 5 years just sort of running through me at one time. I couldn't really cry. I just remember my body starting to shake," said Sarah Anfeldt.

She had moved from Tenino to Florida but never gave up hope he would be found. She flew back today to meet with detectives who don't know yet if Matthew was the victim of foul play or died of natural causes.

"I have been told over and over again, despite how much information we have, we need a body so now, we have that opportunity," said Anfeldt.

She says her son's partial remains were located several miles away from the store in Grand Mound where he was last seen. They were discovered in an area that had not been previously searched.

"How did he end up over there? How did no-one see him when all these 911 calls were coming in between our house and the store and suddenly, nothing," wondered Anfeldt.

She wants more searches conducted for evidence and to know if someone was responsible for kidnapping and killing him.

"I want to be able to lay him to rest. I want to be able to have him home with us and if that's all I get, I'll take that but I do, if somebody did something, I do want them to pay that ultimate consequence," said Anfeldt.

Anfeldt's family set up a GoFundMe to support travel between Washington and their Florida home, funeral expenses and other expenses.

The investigation into how he died remains ongoing.

Feb. 23, 2020 – Lacey, Washington

A year after being reported missing, Thurston County Sheriff’s Detective Mickey Hamilton began investigating if Matthew’s disappearance was connected to an attack that happened two and a half months prior.

Matthew was jumped near the Rite Aid in Lacey at 7th Avenue SE and Sleater-Kinney Road SE sometime in December 2018.

"He had mentioned right before he went missing to a couple of his friends about some people were after him, but we haven't been able to develop who those people were. He didn't specifically mention names of who was after him or why they would be after him, so we need information that the public could provide. If anybody out there knows if these incidents are related, or any more information about that December 2018 incident, we could try to see if they're connected," said Det. Hamilton.

There was no police report filed about the incident, but Det. Hamilton said Matthew had visible injuries and he hoped somebody could tell him who was after Matthew and why.

Matthew's mother continuously updated the "Help Find Matthew Anfeldt" Facebook group and made plans to hold a candlelight vigil on Feb. 28 from 6 to 7 pm at 3800 Henderson Blvd SE in Olympia.

PREVIOUS COVERAGE: Detectives investigating whether young man's disappearance is linked to previous attack in Lacey

May 3, 2019 – Thurston County, Washington

Matthew Anfeldt's favorite passion is music.

His freestyle rapping videos and online recordings as 'Mt Hayze' show a talented young man finding his voice in songs like 'Change.'

"He hoped to be successful at some point in life with his music," said his mom, Sarah Anfeldt.

The 20-year-old with big dreams had more immediate concerns on the day he disappeared in the Rochester/Grand Mound/Tenino area of Thurston County on February 28, 2019.

"I told him to focus on finding a job. He was stressed about bills, and I walked out the door. He said, 'I love you, mom.’"

That was the last time Anfeldt saw or heard from her son. ​

Matthew spent the day bowling with his sister. He was his usual self, wearing the Chicago Bulls sweatshirt he had on when he disappeared later that evening and smiling in a cell phone video.​ The two returned home between 4 p.m. and 4:30 p.m. They were planning to watch movies. He left her room with no shoes on to go and get his phone but never returned. ​

"From that point, we know that he went to the neighbors yelling about his family and crying. He then ran out into the roadway stopping traffic and saying that his family had been murdered," said Anfeldt.

That first call came in at 5:17 p.m. ​Witnesses who called 911 said it appeared Matthew was having a mental breakdown. A short time after the first calls came in, Matthew showed up two miles from his home in Tenino at the Speedway Grocery on Old Hwy 99 South in Grand Mound -- Rochester.

"He was barefoot, scared and had blood around his mouth," said Anfeldt. "He was again crying and yelling and apparently wanted to hide. While the clerk was on the phone with 911, he took off out the door, and that is the last time that we have seen him."

Matthew had left his phone at home, and he wasn't dressed for the cold February weather with temperatures dropping at night to freezing that week.

"We've done multiple search and rescue searches both with dogs and ground searches and aerial searches with unmanned aerial vehicles," said Thurston County Sheriff's Det. Mickey Hamilton.​

Despite their extensive efforts, including asking homeowners to search their property and outbuildings, there was no sign of Matthew.

Detective Hamilton had said it was possible that Matthew was picked up by somebody trying to help him. However, nobody has ever come forward to say they gave him a ride out of the area, and he never showed up at any of the hospitals in Thurston or Lewis County.

"We've had no activity on any of his bank accounts, social media accounts, or his phone so as far as we know he has no means of supporting himself," said Det. Hamilton who has followed up on every lead or possible sighting they have received.

Before he disappeared, Matthew had never gone more than 24 hours without contacting his mother. She was posting updates regularly on the 'Help Find Matthew Anfeldt' Facebook page where she wrote this week that listening to her son's music and watching his videos helps her get through the day. ​

This was her message to her son: "Not one day has gone by that I have not thought of you, missed you, shed tears or prayed for you. If you somehow see this, we need you to know how deeply you are loved and missed. We just want you home. Please remember you have, and always will be, my number one champion. We will never give up on you and we love you." ​

This is a developing story as the investigation remains ongoing.

For anyone who would like to help his mom with expenses, a GoFundMe has been set up here.