RANGER, Texas (KTAB/KRBC) – In a shocking discovery, human skeletal remains were found just east of Ranger, leaving residents in the area asking if those were the remains of a missing loved one.

Roughly a mile-and-a-half east of the Ranger schools on Loop 254 and right around the bend, orange tape marked the area were remains were found.

However, as the hours passed by and word got out of the found skeletal fragments, residents began questioning if their cases for missing loved ones were coming to a close.

KTAB/KRBC spoke via video chat with Ranger resident Will Barrett, who said it was roughly three years ago when his good friend Opie went missing.

Barrett described Opie as, “[A] hometown boy, never leaving too far without letting someone know.”

He said the exact day and time of Opie’s disappearance was unknown, but it was just days after they ran into each other getting license plates renewed in town.

Barrett said his old friend had renewed his faith in Christ, a meaningful conversation between the two, and spoke of how his newfound faith was helping turn his life around after years of personal battles.

Days turned to months and months turned to years for Barrett. He shared that there was never a week he didn’t think of his longtime friend, especially after seeing their colleagues in town and Facebook memories.

“He was the most genuine, nicest guy,” Barrett said. “I don’t know why anyone would want to hurt him.”

Barrett said he doesn’t know how or why Opie went missing, but said when the news of these remains broke, flashbacks flooded his mind. He remembers the day when law enforcement found Opie’s truck, marked inside with blood stains – right across the road from where these newfound remains were discovered.

While Barrett acknowledged how nobody will know the true identity of the remains found until testing is finished, he said he hopes and prays for closure. Not just for himself, but also for Opie’s mother, who he had been in contact with off and on since his disappearance.

Barrett said this is not the first missing person case he has heard of in the area. KTAB/KRBC also received messages from numerous viewers who said they had reported missing persons, as well.

A more in-depth investigation is underway, with the remains being sent to the forensics department at the University of North Texas for additional analysis.