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Fri, April 10

Skeletal remains identified

FLAGSTAFF, Ariz. - Skeletal remains that were collected by Coconino County Sheriff's Deputies in 1995 and 1996 have recently been identified as belonging to a missing person who was last seen in California in June of 1995.

On Oct. 31, 1995 the Coconino County Sheriff's Office (CCSO) received the report of found human remains in the Ash Fork area. Assigned deputies responded to Sevens Ranch off Forest Service Road 142, which is North of Ash Fork and recovered a human skull. On Jan. 15, 1996, deputies returned to the area of Sevens Ranch and recovered additional bones located several hundred feet north east of where the skull was found. Sheriff's detectives sent the skull and bones to the Coconino County Medical Examiner; however, he could not determine a manner or cause of death.

The human remains were sent to a Forensic Anthropologist in Tucson. It was determined that the skull and bones were from the same person, who was a male Caucasian 24 to 30 years of age with a mean age of 28.6 years and 5 feet, 10 inches in height (give or take two inches).

The above description was placed in the National Crime Information Center as a found unidentified body; however, no agencies responded with missing persons of similar descriptions. In 2000 a facial reconstruction was completed on the skull. In 2005 the information from the reconstruction was entered into the DOE Network. The DOE Network is a volunteer organization devoted to assisting Law Enforcement in solving cold cases concerning unexplained disappearances and unidentified bodies from North America, Australia and Europe.

DOE Network's mission is to give the nameless back their names and return the missing to their families. This is accomplished in three ways: by giving the cases exposure on the DOE Network website, by having volunteers search for clues on these cases as well as making possible matches between missing and unidentified persons and lastly through attempting to get media exposure for these cases that need and deserve it.

In 2007 the skull was taken to a Forensic Dentist (Odontolgist) in Phoenix. The odontolgist used current x-ray technology to complete a more accurate dental chart on the skull. The updated dental information was used to modify the NCIC unidentified body entry.

In 2005 a lieutenant assigned to the detective division established the Coconino County Sheriff's Cold Case Squad. He recruited a retired FBI agent, who volunteered to review old cases involving missing persons, found unidentified bodies and homicide to determine if current technology could assist with further investigation. .

With financial assistance from the National Institute of Justice in 2008 several additional volunteer, valuable tools and computer equipment were added to the Cold Case Squad. One of the mandates of this unit was to get all unidentified found bodies identified whenever possible. One step in this process was to send found human remains from cold cases in for DNA Analysis.

In March of 2009 the femur from this unidentified person was sent to the Arizona Department of Public Safety Crime Laboratory in Phoenix Arizona for the purpose of developing DNA. On Sept. 18, 2009 the DNA developed from the femur was entered into the Combined DNA Index System (CODIS). CODIS is a computer system that is maintained and operated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation. It is a system that stores DNA profiles created by federal, state, and local crime laboratories in the United States, with the ability to search the database to assist in the identification of suspects in crimes. Another function of CODIS is to compare DNA from unidentified bodies to DNA profiles of missing persons.

Law enforcement agencies who have missing person cases will obtain DNA from immediate family members of those missing individuals. The DNA from the family members allows scientists to formulate a DNA Profile of the missing person. Many police agencies now submit DNA of all found bodies and DNA Profiles of all Missing Persons to CODIS.

On Nov. 4, investigators assigned to the Coconino County Sheriff's Cold Case Squad received a call from the Arizona Department of Public Safety indicating that the DNA from the skeletal remains had been matched to a missing person that was entered into CODIS by the Tulare County Sheriff's Office in California. That agency received a missing person report on Pete Anthony Rose whose date of last contact was June 11, 1995. It was not until this year that investigators from that agency obtained DNA from Rose's mother and son and sent it to the California Department of Justice Crime Laboratory in Richmond.

Scientists from that laboratory developed a DNA profile on Pete Rose and entered it into CODIS. The CODIS computer compared the DNA profile from the missing person to thousands of on file records and matched it to the DNA of the skeletal remains found in Coconino County. Cold Case Investigators from both agencies and scientists from both crime laboratories have conferred and have confirmed that the unidentified skeletal remains found in Coconino County in 1995 and 1996 are indeed that of missing person Pete Anthony Rose who was reported missing in 1995.

Coconino County Cold Case investigators urge anyone who has a loved one who has been missing for an extended period of time to contact the law enforcement agency that took the initial missing person report and assist them in obtaining DNA from immediate family members. The DNA can be used to establish a profile on the missing person and when entered into the CODIS computer can be compared to the DNA of thousands of recovered deceased persons.

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