More than 11 years after he and his car went missing in Louisiana, Air Force Staff Sgt. Jeffrey Timmons was laid to rest Saturday, according to a report in The (West Lafayette, Ind.) Journal and Courier.

Timmons grew up in Stockwell, Ind. He was stationed in Louisiana when he went missing in January 1997, the paper reported.

He was last believed to be heading to a riverboat casino late at night. In November, his vehicle and remains were found in a Louisiana river, where they had been for more than a decade, the Journal and Courier reported.

Timmons had been considered absent without leave and his children were not awarded his benefits, the paper noted. Family members, who were in contact with military authorities for years about continuing the search for Timmons, have secured Timmons’ military benefits for his children, who live with their mother.

Debbie Luper, Timmons’ sister, told the Journal and Courier that military investigators determined Timmons died the night he went missing.

A cause of death is likely to never be found.

“He didn’t just leave us,” Luper told the paper. “That’s important for the kids.

“All we can do is assume it was an accident and move on from there.”

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