Michael Giovanni Cocchini
Human remains that were found in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park in August have been positively identified as a man who went missing in March.
Park officials say they worked with the Sevier County Medical Examiner's Office, Knoxville Regional Forensic Center, and the Knox County Sheriffs Forensic Unit to confirm that the remains were Michael Giovanni Cocchini.
There's no way to determine exactly how Cocchini died, but evidence indicates that Cocchini may have taken his own life. Foul play is not suspected.
Searchers may have discovered the remains of a man who has been missing in the Great Smoky Mountains National park since March.
Michael Giovanni Cocchini, 23, a Nashville resident who was staying in Gatlinburg, was last seen by friends on March 18. Two days later, Cocchini's car was reported at a quiet walkway along Newfound Gap Road about a mile south of the Sugarlands Visitor Center. It had been there since Sunday.
Rangers spent days searching for Cocchini and another man, who happened to go missing around the same time. Eventually, crews had to suspend the search.
On Tuesday, park officials announced that park employees discovered several items, including clothing, that were thought to belong to Cocchini near the area where his vehicle was parked. Over the weekend, searchers combed the area and discovered human remains.
The remains have not yet been positively identified, but Cocchini's family has been notified of the possibility that he may have been found.
There has still been no sign of Derek Joseph Leuking, 24, of Blount County. His Ford Escape was found in the Newfound Gap parking lot at the North Carolina line on March 18, 2012. Officials never found any link between the two men's disappearances.