By Lynne Phillips
Bones found in a barn located in New London last September were sent to Mercyhurst University in Erie, Pennsylvania to hopefully be identified, according to Chief of Police Mike Marko.
This week, Marko said he received a call from one of the forensic pathologists at Mercyhurst seeking permission to extract DNA from the bones. He said, “Once the DNA is extracted it will be entered in a national database.”
Initially, Marko said it was thought the bones could have been a skeleton in the home on the property as it had been a doctor’s office at one time.
Marko said he has spoken with just about everyone in town and there are some of the older folks who recall seeing skeletal remains, a partial skeleton, similar to what officers found.
Marko said the forensic anthropologists at Mercyhurst agreed with him the bones are female. “She was approximately 25 to 30 years of age had been deceased between 35 and 40 years. The cause of death was unable to be determined.
“There were no missing persons from this area in that time frame,” Marko stated.
“It has been interesting talking to folks here and they provided a wealth of information about the area from that time period. I feel confident we’ve looked under every rock and we are at the end of our investigation. Entering the DNA in the national database is the last thing we can do. Maybe we will find a relative.”
In the beginning, Marko said the department was called to 118 East Main St. in the village by the homeowners who told officers they found what they believed were human bones. The bones were discovered in the upper portion of a garage on the property.
“The home owner, Cortney Hoffer and her husband Chad, discovered the bones and called us immediately.”
The Bureau of Criminal Investigation and Identification were contacted by the chief. “We sent them pictures and they sent them to an anthropologist who indicated the bones were human. BCI&I spent about three hours processing the scene.
Marko had stated he felt the bones were at least 30 years old, possibly more. He said he made the guess from items found in the garage. “Some of the things in the garage were well over 50 years old. One of the items was a hair dryer from back in the 1960s and that is how Cortney discovered the bones. She was looking through stuff up there in the garage and found the dryer and the bones, which were just scattered on the floor.
Marko said the incident was treated as an “unnatural death” at the time. “It didn’t happen there, those bones were taken there.”