Local auth­ori­ties con­firmed Fri­day that the skel­e­tal re­mains found in a popu­lar Lake­ville park are the body of a 50-year-old man who van­ished near­ly two years ago.

Lake­ville po­lice said the man was Chris­to­pher Bel­li­no, of Lake­ville, according to the Hennepin County med­i­cal ex­am­in­er's of­fice. His remains were found Thurs­day near a pic­nic area in Rit­ter Farm Park.

A group of high school stu­dents out on a "field o­ri­en­teer­ing ex­er­cise" found the man's skull in "fair­ly re­mote sec­tion" of the 340-acre park, said Capt. Kev­in Ma­ni­as, a Lake­ville po­lice spokes­man.

In a sub­se­quent search of the area, in­ves­ti­ga­tors found "ad­di­tion­al skel­e­tal bones be­lieved to be as­so­ci­ated with the skull," po­lice said.

"Everything we located was surface, or covered by vegetable material," Ma­ni­as said at a news con­fer­ence on Fri­day. "The area that we searched, there were [bones] located probably 100 to 200 feet away from where the skull was at."

Bel­li­no was last seen when he went to din­ner with his daugh­ters on July 29, 2012, ac­cord­ing to the National Miss­ing and Un­identi­fied Persons Data­base. He was re­port­ed miss­ing four days later by his mother.

His car was dis­cov­ered on Aug. 26 of that year in the park­ing lot of the Tar­get in Lake­ville, less than two miles from where his re­mains were dis­cov­ered, Ma­ni­as said.

At the time of his dis­ap­pear­ance, po­lice de­scribed Bel­li­no as an "en­dan­gered per­son," which means that due to any number of circumstances a law enforcement official had determined that he was at risk of injury or death.

An au­top­sy was per­formed Fri­day, the re­sults of which have not yet been re­leased, the po­lice cap­tain said. There was no in­di­ca­tion of foul play.

"Un­til we've re­ceived a for­mal re­port from the med­i­cal ex­am­in­er's of­fice," Ma­ni­as said, "in terms of man­ner and cause of death, I'm not going to specu­late."

Libor Jany • 651-925-5033 • @StribJany