WEST MANCHESTER TWP., Pa. - Police are hoping forensic data analysis will help shed new light on a cold case in which human remains were located in a wooded area four years ago.
It was in November 2013 when a tree-trimming crew found a human skull near the intersection of Loucks and Haviland roads in the township. A deeper search by police yielded about 75 percent of a human skeleton and clothing, according to reports.
"Upon the conclusion of that, we determined that this was a homicide case, and that we were actively investigating it, trying to find out who the person was that was there," said Ofc. Lance Krout of the West Manchester Township Police Department.
At that time, forensic experts determined the body had been there for at least between three and ten years, and potentially longer.
Investigators submitted the forensic data to several labs, first to the University of North Texas and then to the University of South Florida. Through analysis at those labs, they were able to generate sketches of what the victim probably looked like when he died, as well as an approximation of what he would have looked like today.
The testing indicated the victim was a Latino male between 35 and 50 years old, standing between 5 ft. 5 in. and 5 ft. 8 in. tall with a slender but muscular build.
The data suggests he was likely born in the U.S. and grew up in the South, but spent the last decade of his life in and around Pennsylvania.
"We had no idea where they're from, you know, we don't know if they're a resident of Pennsylvania or they could be a resident from Texas, but with using them and getting this national database, it kind of helps put everybody on the same page and try and start looking in the same area for these missing people," Krout said.
Police are scouring missing persons reports from the approximate time period of his death, but are hoping someone comes forward with information.
"We don't want the person that perpetrated this crime to still be out there; we don't want them to get away with this," Krout said. "We also want the family to be able to have closure."
Anyone with information can call West Manchester Township police at (717) 792-9514.