Facial reconstruction revealed in Youngstown cold case

YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WKBN) — At some point, the man’s remains may have been forgotten.

But not now.

Police, with the help of the state Attorney General’s Office and the state Bureau of Criminal Investigation and Identification, are seeking help in identifying a man whose skeletal remains were found in an East Side cemetery in 1987. They revealed a reconstruction man’s facial at a press conference. conference today at the city police department.

The man’s remains were found on September 10, 1987, in Mount Hope Cemetery near Liberty Road in the Sharon Line area of ​​Youngstown’s East Side.

The man’s remains were initially examined by the Mahoning County Coroner’s Office and Youngstown State University, but were forgotten about until a few years ago, when someone told police the remains were still in the YSU anthropology department.

BCI then did a reconstruction of the man’s face. Samantha Oliver, a reconstruction specialist at BCI, said it wasn’t easy because there wasn’t much to work with.

However, Oliver said, a portion of the man’s lower jaw was still intact, which helped a lot because the remains were nearly bare.

Oliver said the lack of cartilage and tissue in the skeleton made it difficult to estimate the man’s height or weight, plus the researchers didn’t have a complete skeleton to work with originally.

The researchers took a CT scan of the skull and were able to print it to reconstruct the face from a plastic model. That means the original skeleton can be saved and preserved as evidence.

Investigators were able to get some DNA from the remains so they can compare it to other DNA if anyone comes forward.

“The most important thing is to send the DNA,” Oliver said.

BCI’s Joe Morbitzer said the agency recently used DNA to solve two unsolved homicides in Franklin and Licking counties, respectively. He said that it is possible to obtain an identity through DNA, especially family DNA.

“This has been a high priority for the attorney general,” Morbitzer said.

Youngstown Police Detective Sgt. Dave Sweeney, who handles cold cases and missing persons cases for the department, said the remains may have belonged to someone who was buried in the cemetery, but he doesn’t think that’s true because the remains were found in a shallow pit. deep. grave.

A 71-year-old man and his 11-year-old grandson were squirrel hunting when they found the remains and called police. It is estimated that the remains were there for three to five years before they were found.

Investigators say the remains belong to a black man between the ages of 30 and 44.

Mayor Jamael Tito Brown and Chief Carl Davis urged anyone who knows someone who went missing during that time period to call the police.

“If you know of this person, please let us know so we can provide a family with closure,” Brown said.

Anyone with information can call the Mahoning County Coroner’s Office at 330-740-2175 or CrimeStoppers Youngstown at 330-746-CLUE.

Check back here for updates on this developing story.