AHWATUKEE (3TV/CBS 5) – Police on Friday say the human remains found in a burned-out Ahwatukee home earlier this month are that of the resident.
Gary Lee Duffield, 59, had not been seen since the home caught fire in 2017.
[WATCH: Resident vanished after 2017 fire]
Investigators did not release any information about how Duffield died.
Detectives have been investigating the case as a homicide and will continue to do so, Sgt. Tommy Thompson of the Phoenix Police Department said Monday.
Duffield's remains were discovered inside the home in a neighborhood near 48th Street and Ray Road on April 3.
Works crews were cleaning up the house, which has sat with a gigantic hole in the roof since 2017, so it could be rebuilt for the new owner.
The workers who found the bones initially thought they belonged to an animal. It was later determined that the bones were those of an adult male.
Neighbors were perplexed by the discovery.
"It just doesn't make sense for the fire department not to go into house and clear it out when it burned down like that," neighbor Trevor Lewis the next day. "You'd think they would have found the body sooner."
It took nearly two weeks for investigators to determine that Duffield had finally been found.
It's not clear how long his body had been in the rubble of the home.
Neighbors say Duffield had lived in the house with his mother since the 1980s. People who live in the area say that his mother died before the fire.