HUMAN remains have been found in the area of the San Gabriel mountains where Otley-born actor Julian Sands went missing more than five months ago.

The San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Department said civilian hikers had contacted authorities on Saturday morning after finding the remains in the Mount Baldy area.

The remains have been transported to the Coroner’s Office, pending positive identification, the department said.

It is expected that identification should be completed next week, at which point the department will issue a press release.

Sands, 65, failed to return from a hike in the Mount Baldy area of the southern Californian mountains on January 13.

Wharfedale Observer: Julian SandsJulian Sands (Image: PA)

The actor is known for his roles in films A Room With A View, Leaving Las Vegas and Warlock, as well as TV appearances on 24, Smallville and Banshee.

Earlier this week his family released a statement saying they were continuing to keep him “in our hearts with bright memories”.

“We are deeply grateful to the search teams and co-ordinators who have worked tirelessly to find Julian,” a family statement, issued on Wednesday by the sheriff’s department, read.

“We continue to hold Julian in our hearts with bright memories of him as a wonderful father, husband, explorer, lover of the natural world and the arts, and as an original and collaborative performer.”

The sheriff’s department added although Sands had not been found during searches on June 17, the case remained active.

Wharfedale Observer: Ground searches for Julian Sands in the San Gabriel mountains on February 18 this yearGround searches for Julian Sands in the San Gabriel mountains on February 18 this year (Image: PA)

The search had included “over 80 search and rescue volunteers, deputies, and staff”, with their efforts supported by two helicopters, and drone crews.

“Despite the recent warmer weather, portions of the mountain remain inaccessible due to extreme alpine conditions,” the department said in a previous statement.

“Multiple areas include steep terrain and ravines, which still have 10-plus feet of ice and snow.”

Searches have been hampered by poor conditions in the area and were halted in March due to the risk of avalanches.

Eight searches by ground and air have taken place for Sands since his disappearance, with volunteer searcher hours exceeding 500 hours.

A spokesperson for the sheriff’s department previously said its goal was “to bring closure” to Sands’ family.

Sands was born in Otley and grew up in the Gargrave area.