Update: The investigation into Stokes’ disappearance led authorities to identify 40-year-old Matthew James Dillon and 40-year-old Francis Harland Hamblin as potential suspects. Both Dillon, originally from Ohio, and Hamblin, hailing from New York, had recently relocated to the Opelika area. Both are facing Murder allegations.

OPELIKA, Ala. (WRBL) – The Opelika Police Department recovered human remains Wednesday in the woods near Bay Court in Opelika. The grim discovery was made during a search for 28-year-old Reggie Cornelius Stokes, who had been reported missing since September 22, 2023. Opelika police are awaiting an identification to determine if the remains are Stokes. His family has been notified of the discovery.

Stokes was last seen by his family nearly three weeks ago, prompting concern from loved ones and the community. The Opelika Police Department called upon Alpha Team K9 Search & Rescue for assistance.

The search efforts, which began on October 9, 2023, took a somber turn on October 11 when search canines alerted their handlers to the presence of human remains in the wooded area. 

The exact identity of the remains is yet to be determined, and they will be sent to the medical examiner’s office for further examination. Opelika Police Department’s Detective Division is leading the investigation and is actively seeking any information that could aid in resolving this case. They have urged anyone with knowledge related to this incident to come forward. The department can be reached at (334) 705-5220 or through the Secret Witness Hotline at (334) 745-8665. To ensure anonymity, tips can be submitted through the Opelika Police Mobile App.