Sorokin’s remains were found Sept. 9 in a wooded canyon near Warren Drive and Smith Grade in Bonny Doon. According to the Santa Cruz County Sheriff’s Office, the body was found by Santa Cruz Water Department employees saw a human skull and reported it to the Sheriff’s Office which unearthed the rest of the body.
“It adds closure for us, and we’re just so happy to do this for the family,” said Santa Cruz Police Deputy Chief Steve Clark.
Sorokin, a Los Angeles-area 29-year-old, was killed in Santa Cruz on July 20, 2009 during a marijuana deal. His burned out truck was found on a dirt road about a mile from Smith Grade Road, but his body was not found despite an extensive search.
Clark said the coroner’s office is fully confident the remains are Sorokin’s as both DNA and dental records matched. Additionally, boots and a comforter from the crime scene were found.
Three men were convicted in relation to the crime. Kenneth Clamp was convicted of murder and robbery while Stewart Skuba was convicted of first degree murder. Clamp was sentenced to 85-years to life in prison and Skuba life in prison without parole. Adam Hunt, an accomplice to the two, was convicted of robbery.
Sorokin’s father Nick Sorokin offered a written statement to the media this week.
“The family of Elias Sorokin can now deliver his fragile remains to its final resting place, knowing that his spirit is at peace glorifying creation and continuous to bestow his love on us all. His temporary resting place for four years, a picturesque canyon full of redwoods was a setting he loved so much in life. As an arborist, he was called a “tree man” by many and even in death he earned his title, nurturing the trees around him.
His departure from us was a great loss which has no replacement. At the same time we are comforted believing that he rests in peace and that here on Earth the perpetrators of the heinous crime against Elias were caught and convicted due to the diligence and perseverance of the Santa Cruz Sheriff’s Office, Santa Cruz Police Department and District Attorney’s Office.”
Clark noted that the fact the body was found will likely not affect the convictions in the case, but may play a roll if the men seek parole.
He said that the cause of death — internal affixation — was not determined by the remains, rather during the prior investigation.