The human remains found in Cranberry over the weekend may be those of a man in his 40s who went missing in July, township police said.
Cranberry Sgt. Chuck Mascellino said police and forensic investigators found a wallet with ID in the clothing still on the skeletal remains, discovered Saturday afternoon in a wooded area along Dutilh Road.
There are no missing person reports in the township, but it is believed the man, originally from Beaver County, lived elsewhere when he was reported missing, Sgt. Mascellino said. Authorities are in contact with the family.
Police were called to a wooded area about 2:30 p.m. Saturday after a man who was visiting a patient at nearby UPMC Passavant-Cranberry spotted the remains while walking to Cranberry Mall. The scene was cleared by 9:30 p.m.
"It's an interesting one because it was out in the open," said Dennis Dirkmaat, a forensic anthropologist at Mercyhurst College in Erie, whose team performed the site excavation. "It wasn't too far away from civilization."
Sgt. Mascellino said the remains had been there for "an extended time," probably months. They had not been buried.
Cranberry police and the Butler County coroner's office are investigating. Mr. Dirkmaat's team will examine the man's clothing and the site among other things to estimate when he died. Authorities are also awaiting dental records, which will help authenticate the identity.
Investigators expect to identify the remains sometime in the next couple of weeks. Since they were discovered, Cranberry police received six calls from people suggesting unsolved missing persons reports that might be a match, Sgt. Mascellino said.
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