The Major Case Squad of Greater St. Louis deactivated Friday evening following the discovery Monday of skeletal remains in rural Macoupin County.
An identification of the remains found by teens who were walking in a wooded area just south Royal Lakes remains pending, but Capt. Mike Dixon, who led the case squad’s investigation, said the likely victim is Joseph Wilson, a handicapped 24-year-old Royal Lakes resident who was reported missing in 2012.
“I have a strong belief that this could be Joe Wilson,” Dixon said.
He said that if DNA tests prove Wilson is the victim, Macoupin County authorities can proceed down a path that may lead to criminal charges.
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“I’m confident we’re going to move in that direction,” Dixon said.
If the remains turn out not to be those of Wilson, Dixon said the Major Case Squad may reactivate. But he added that while there are other missing persons cases in Macoupin county, “we don’t believe the remains belong to any other missing persons.”
An examination of the bones conducted by a forensic pathologist and an Illinois State Police anthropologist suggested the remains were those of an African-American man.
Wilson was reported missing in 2012. According to Macoupin County Sheriff Shawn Kahl, “within about a month we figured foul play had occurred. It was common talk around Royal Lakes that something bad happened to Joseph.”
The pending DNA tests could take several weeks to complete. Dixon said normally victims can be quickly identified by dental records, but this case was unique in that investigators believe Wilson had never been to a dentist.
Return to BND.com for updates to this story.