Youngstown police seeking info on bones found in 1987 on east side

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YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WKBN) – Police and the Mahoning County Coroner’s Office are looking for help in identifying a set of bones found in 1987 on Youngstown’s far east side.

Detective Sgt. Dave Sweeney, who heads up missing persons cases for the department, said the bones had been in the Youngstown State University Anthropology Department since they were found in a wooded area off of Liberty Road.

Sweeney said a former YSU student reached out to him about the bones because she was not sure if they were ever identified. At the same time, Sweeney said the anthropology department had found a set of bones while looking through some old material and reached out to police.

Those bones are the same bones found Sept. 10, 1987 by a 71-year-old man and his 11-year-old grandson who were hunting squirrels in the area.

Newspaper accounts at the time said the bones were found near the Mount Hope Cemetery.

Sweeney said he did not believe the bones were from a body at the cemetery because they were found buried in a pit only a foot deep.

The Sharon Line area of the east side has been notorious over the years for the amount of homicide victims who have been found dumped there because it is so remote.

At the time, the Vindicator said it appeared that there were two skulls found at the site as well as some other bones.

Sweeney said it is not known now what kinds of bones investigators have. He said the Mahoning County Coroner’s Office will examine them to determine what type they are.

Theresa Gaetano, an investigator for the coroner’s office, said a preliminary inspection of the bones found they are a skull, two clavicles, a scapula and other bones. She said there are still several more boxes to examine. There are also some teeth.

“We are kind of starting from scratch,” Gaetano said.

At the time the bones were found, coroner’s investigators believed there was more than one set of bones, Gaetano said, from reviewing reports.

In April, Sweeney and Gaetano were able to announce they had identified a set of bones found in 1995 at a north side apartment complex after they had asked for help from the public.

Sweeney said he hopes to generate tips in this case as well so they can have some DNA samples they can use to compare with the bones that were found.

Also helping in the investigation is the YSU Anthropology Department, the state Bureau of Criminal Investigation and city fire department Capt. Kurt Wright, who is a fire investigator and also member of a homicide task force.

Anyone with information can call police at 330-747-7911 or Gaetano at 330-740-2175 ext. 7310.

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