Madison County Sheriff Toby Trowbridge said the size of the remains leads him to believe that they have found Jackson teacher Spencer Campbell.
No one has heard from Campbell since August 5, 2002. He failed to show up for work at Johnson Elementary school the following day, which was the first day of school.
Campbell was 56 when he disappeared.
The remains were recovered along with a watch, key ring and deteriorating clothes.
Trowbridge said investigators contacted Jackson police to help determine if the watch and key ring belonged to Campbell.
Jackson Police Department spokesman Robert Graham said he did not have any additional information.
Someone found the remains about 2 p.m. Saturday in a wooded area.
Jackson police believe Campbell was the victim of foul play because guns, masks, wigs and what looked like an explosive device were found in his Toyota Camry.
The car was recovered August 11 at a senior citizens' apartment complex in Pickens.