One year after human remains were found in Pettis County, the person’s identity still isn’t confirmed.
The remains were found Oct. 27, 2018, by a Missouri Department of Conservation agent in a densely wooded area near the Eagle Brook Farm subdivision.
According to a Pettis County Sheriff’s Office news release last year, the Boone County Medical Examiner’s Office released initial findings to Pettis County Coroner Skip Smith that determined the remains are of a Caucasian male age 35 to 45.
Sheriff Kevin Bond told the Democrat last year the remains were entirely skeletal and that they had been there “an extended amount of time.” He also said the remains were found on the surface rather than buried and that most of the skeleton was recovered. Little other evidence was found and Bond said none of it was individually identifying.
Smith told the Democrat in May that it appears the man died of natural causes and Bond said no evidence had been found to suggest any foul play.
On Tuesday, Smith told the Democrat he is still waiting for DNA confirmation from a university in Texas. The facility will compare DNA found in the remains with DNA provided by the sheriff’s office from area missing person cases.
“They had us jump through a lot of hoops so we had everything ready to go and then they needed more information before they would do it for us. It’s just been a long process,” Smith said Tuesday. “We have it pretty well narrowed down who it is but we just need confirmation.”
After the Boone County office, the remains were sent to a forensic anthropologist at the University of Missouri in Columbia and were not returned to Smith’s office for more than six months. That office does not handle DNA testing but rather looks for any injuries such as fractures or bullet wounds. It did, however, obtain the DNA sample from the bones, Smith said.
Bond previously told the Democrat that the Missouri State Highway Patrol lab where Pettis County sends its forensic evidence does not conduct the type of DNA testing needed for these remains. MSHP referred Bond and Smith to the facility in Texas. When the Democrat spoke with Smith in May, he was preparing to send the samples to Texas and said he hoped to have final results within a month.
Now November, the identity is still not confirmed, although Smith said he and detectives believe they know who it is.
Smith said it isn’t uncommon for a case like this to take more than a year to be resolved, especially when it involves trying to match DNA. He said he’s now hoping for final results in the next few weeks or at least by the end of the year.