WAKEFIELD – Middlesex District Attorney Marian Ryan and Wakefield Chief of Police Steven Skory have confirmed that the remains located outside a residence on Lakeshore Drive in Wakefield on Monday have been positively identified by the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner through dental records as Clifford Bates, 54, of Dracut.
On April 29, 2018, Wakefield Police responded to Lakeshore Drive for a report of a missing person. The caller reported that her brother, Clifford Bates, had walked away from a voluntary sober home in Wakefield and that she was concerned about his well-being. Police learned that Mr. Bates had walked away from the home at approximately 7:30 a.m. and when he did not return staff at the home contacted the decedent’s sister. Police also learned that Mr. Bates did not have a cell phone and had a history of similar behavior. An official Missing Person’s Report was filed by the decedent’s family on May 1, 2018 and police subsequently asked for the public’s help in the areas of Wakefield, Chelmsford, Lowell and Concord. Police received several tips but were unable to locate Mr. Bates.
At approximately 10:24 a.m. on June 17, 2019, a landscaper working at the Lakeshore Drive residence from where Mr. Bates was reported missing, located what appeared to be human bones, shoes and clothing under leaves and brush in the rear yard, behind a shed. The residence had been vacant since December 2018 and was sold recently.
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.
This matter is being investigated by the Massachusetts State Police Detectives assigned to the Middlesex District Attorney’s Office, Wakefield Police, and the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner.