A 56-year-old Manhattan Beach woman with early-onset Alzheimer's disease who went missing during a trip to the Los Angeles County Museum of Art in 2016 has been found dead, officials said.
The remains of Nancy Paulikas were identified after a charred, incomplete human skull was found on a mountainside, according to L.A. County Department of Medical Examiner-Coroner’s records.
Coroner's officials could not immediately be reached for further information on when and where the remains were found.
Paulikas' husband, Kirk Moody, told KTLA the skull was found in Fossil Ridge Park, north of Mulholland Drive in Sherman Oaks, in spring 2017. She was then positively identified after some ribs were found this fall, he said.
The skull was found in a ravine after a brush fire broke out at the park, police told the Los Angeles Times last March.
The coroner's office lists the day Paulikas died as March 11, 2017 — the same date the fire occurred. Her exact cause of death is still under investigation.
Moody said he was contacted by police about her remains being identified on Wednesday.
The Manhattan Beach woman was 55 when she was last seen on Oct. 15, 2016, heading to the women's restroom at LACMA. Surveillance footage later showed her leaving the museum and walking west down Wilshire Boulevard.
At the time, she was at the developmental stage of a 4-year-old and prone to disorientation and anxiety, her family said. She also had no jacket, wallet or phone on her when she vanished.
She had otherwise been in good health, according to Moody, who added that despite her illness she never tried to go anywhere without him.
Paulikas was an accomplished technology executive at a financial firm before retiring in 2011. She developed Alzheimer's disease a few years later.
Her disappearance inspired the formation of a countywide initiative called L.A. Found to better track and locate individuals with Alzheimer's, dementia and autism, according to Supervisor Janice Hahn.
"I am heartbroken," Hahn said in an emailed statement. "For two years we have kept hope alive that Nancy would be found safe and could be reunited with her family."
The supervisor also described Moody as "brave" and said his persistent search efforts helped create L.A. Found, which was established this September.
"I want to thank everyone who continued the search for Nancy," Hahn added. "May she Rest In Peace."
KTLA's Mary Beth McDade contributed to this report.